ESMA provides clearing exemption for NDFs (for now)


Back in October 14, European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) published a consultation paper on the mandatory clearing of swaps and Non-Deliverable Forwards (NDFs). At the time it was thought the publication was significant, coming a week before the Global Markets Advisory Committee (GMAC) of the CFTC, was to hold a public meeting to discuss whether a clearing mandate is appropriate for NDF’s, with a particular focus on how such a mandate would impact foreign exchange contracts. It was felt that the timing could signify a convergence between Europe and US on NDF clearing mandates.

However, on the basis of feedback received to ten key questions, ESMA has decided to not propose a clearing obligation on the NDF classes at this stage. ESMA believes that more time is needed to appropriately address the main concerns raised during the consultation, although there is still a possibility to propose a clearing obligation at a later point in time in order to take into account further market developments.

Below is a summary of the questions and some of the key responses from the report:

1) Clearing Obligation procedure
2) Structure of the NDF classes: Participants felt that the definition of what constitutes an NDF (currency pair, settlement currency, settlement type and maturity) was not broad enough, and that the criteria should also consider the documentation under which the contract was concluded. Specifically it was felt that only contracts which are traded under non-modified EMTA templates should be subject to the clearing obligation. This would ensure that only standardised classes were considered for clearing.
3) NDF classes proposed for the clearing obligation: Reservations towards mandatory clearing for NDF (or at least mandatory clearing under the proposed time frame) for two main reasons: a) The clearing offer for this asset class is still in its infancy and b) Lack of international convergence
4)  Maximum maturity of the NDF contracts
5)  Criteria for the determination of the dates
6) Categories of counterparties
7) Dates of application of the clearing obligation
8)  Frontloading and the minimum remaining maturity
9) Other comments
10) Cost Benefit Analysis

Full consultation feedback Statement paper here

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