Swedish government plans 2% OC minimum to meet EMIR criteria

Sep 25th, 2015

The Swedish government is proposing to introduce a 2% minimum overcollateralisation requirement in legislation so the country’s covered bonds will meet the criteria necessary for exemption from central clearing obligations for OTC derivatives under the European Market Infrastructure Regulation (EMIR).

Riksdag AppUnder EMIR, covered bonds are exempt from central clearing requirements as long as they meet criteria laid down by the European Securities & Markets Authority (ESMA). These include a requirement for a “legal” collateralisation level of 102%, and changes to frameworks in countries, such as Sweden, where this is not already included in legislation had been anticipated.

The Association of Swedish Covered Bond Issuers (ASCB) said that the change to legislation will enable Swedish issuers to fulfil the OC requirement, but it is not expected to entail any increase in costs for them since they already have a significant level of OC far above what the amendment will require.

“This is a positive step for the Swedish covered bond issuers who can continue to use derivatives for hedging purposes as before,” said Martin Rydin, ASCB chairman.

According to Jonny Sylvén, senior advisor at the ASCB, the proposal is now being consulted upon and will then be put to parliament, with the government planning to have it effective on 1 May 2016, well ahead of when clearing obligations are expected to come into force.

Analysts at Danske said that the proposed legal change should also remove any doubts as to the LCR treatment of Swedish covered bonds – even if they and the European Covered Bond Council consider that they should already have been deemed eligible for Level 1(B). They said that in order to be eligible for Level 1(B) inclusion, the Delegated Regulation on LCR requires benchmark covered bonds to meet an OC requirement of 2% “at all times”, but that the Delegated Regulation does not specify whether this refers to the legal minimum, the level committed by the issuer, or merely the current level.

“Given that Swedish issuers generally do not commit to a given OC level, this has caused some uncertainty as to the LCR eligibility of Swedish covered bonds, they said.

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