Remarks by Acting Assistant Secretary for Financial Markets Daleep Singh on Interest Rate Benchmark Reform at FIA’s 32nd Annual Futures & Options Expo
Even absent the decline in underlying transactions, a transition away from LIBOR would still be in the self-interest of market participants. LIBOR’s widespread use is more historical accident, reinforced by liquidity-driven network effects, than the result of a considered process. Recall that LIBOR was introduced by the British Bankers Association in 1986 merely to standardize the interest rates banks charged each other on loans. It was not contemplated as the world’s dominant interest rate benchmark.
If you are a user of LIBOR, and I’m sure nearly all of you are, I ask you to think about whether it’s really the best choice for your purposes. If you are borrowing money in an adjustable rate loan, does it make sense to you that your interest rate will go up if the market starts to view a handful of banks as less creditworthy on average? Gloomier yet, are you prepared for your rate to increase in an environment of broadly elevated stress? Even if Treasury and monetary policy rates are declining, LIBOR, given its link to bank credit, could be headed in the other direction.
The full speech is available here.