European Market Infrastructure Regulation (EMIR)

Delegated Regulation Further Extending Temporary Clearing Exception for PSAs Under the Regulation on OTC Derivatives, CCPS and Trade Repositories (Regulation 648/2012) EMIR Published in OJ

 

An amendment to EMIR entitled Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) 2017/610 was published in the Official Journal of the EU (“OJ“). The Delegated Regulation concerns the extension of transitional periods relating to Pension Scheme Arrangements (“PSAs“) and was adopted by the European Commission on December 20, 2016. The Delegated Regulation came into force the day after it was published in the OJ, being April 1, 2017.

Council of EU Approves Commission Delegated Regulation to Extend PSA Transition Periods under EMIR

 

On February 23, 2017, the European Parliament updated its procedure file on the proposed Commission Delegated Regulation amending European Market Infrastructure Regulation (“EMIR“) (Regulation 648/2012) as regards the extension of the transitional periods related to pension scheme arrangements (PSAs).

The procedure file states that the Council has raised no objection to the Delegated Regulation.

The Commission adopted the Delegated Regulation in December 2016.

The proposed Commission Delegated Regulation will enter into force unless the European Parliament objects. If the Parliament does not object, the Delegated Regulation will enter into force the day after it is published in the Official Journal of the EU.

ESAs and IOSCO Publish Statements on Variation of Margin Exchange under EMIR

 

On February 23, 2017, the Joint Committee of European Supervisory Authorities (“ESAs“) published a statement on variation margin exchange under the EMIR regulatory technical standards (“RTS“) on risk mitigation techniques for uncleared over-the-counter derivative contracts under Article 11(15) of the European Market Infrastructure Regulation (“EMIR“). The International Organization of Securities and Commissions (“IOSCO“) has also published a related statement.

The statement responds to industry requests relating to operational challenges in meeting the deadline of March 1, 2017, for exchanging variation margin, the effect of which will be experienced particularly by smaller counterparties.

Neither the ESAs nor competent authorities (“CAs“) have the power to disapply directly applicable EU legalization. As a result, any further delays of the application of the EU rules would formally need to be implemented through EU legislation, which the ESAs state is not possible due to the lengthy process for adopting EU legislation.

The ESAs outline their expectations of smaller counterparties as follows:

“The ESAs expect CAs to generally apply their risk-based supervisory powers in their day-to-day enforcement of applicable legislation. This approach entails that CAs can take into account the size of the exposure to the counterparty plus its default risk, and that participants must document the steps taken toward full compliance and put in place alternative arrangements to ensure that the risk of non-compliance is contained, such as using existing Credit Support Annexes to exchange variation margins. This approach does not entail a general forbearance, but a case‑by‑case assessment from the CAs on the degree of compliance and progress. In any case, the ESAs and CAs expect that the difficulties will be solved in the coming few months and that transactions concluded on or after March 1, 2017, remain subject to the obligation to exchange variation margin.”

The statement points out that in 2015, the IOSCO had already granted a nine-month delay based on similar arguments from the industry. The ESAs comment that it is unfortunate that the financial industry has not prepared for the implementation. The ESAs had previously expressed concern about the delayed adoption of the then draft RTS.

In its statement, IOSCO explains that some market participants have faced difficulty in completing the necessary credit support documentation and operational processes to settle variation margin in accordance with the requirements. However, IOSCO expects all affected parties to make every effort to fulfill the necessary variation margin requirements by the deadlines. IOSCO adds that it believes that relevant IOSCO members should consider taking appropriate measures available to them to ensure fair and orderly markets during the introduction and application of such variation margin requirements.

The European Commission (EC) adopted Delegated Regulation 648/2012 supplementing EMIR with the RTS in October 2016. The Joint Committee of ESAs submitted the final draft RTS to the Commission in March 2016.

ESAs Publish Final Draft Technical Standards on Margin Requirements for Non-Centrally Cleared Derivatives

The Joint Committee of the European Supervisory Authorities (EBA, EIOPA, ESMA) (“ESAs“) has published final draft Regulatory Technical Standards (“RTS“) outlining the framework of the European Market Infrastructure Regulation (EMIR). The RTS cover the risk mitigation techniques related to the exchange of collateral to cover exposures arising from non-centrally cleared OTC derivatives. They also specify the criteria concerning intragroup exemptions and the definitions of practical and legal impediments to the prompt transfer of funds between counterparties.

The draft RTS prescribe that, for OTC derivatives not cleared by a Central Counterparty, counterparties have to exchange both initial and variation margins. This will reduce counterparty credit risk, mitigate any potential systemic risk and ensure alignment with international standards. The draft RTS outline the list of eligible collateral for the exchange of margins, the criteria to ensure the collateral is sufficiently diversified and not subject to wrong-way risk, as well as the methods to determine appropriate collateral haircuts. The draft RTS also lay down the operational procedures relating to documentation, legal assessments of the enforceability of the agreements and the timing of the collateral exchange, as well as the procedures for counterparties and competent authorities related to the treatment of intragroup derivative contracts.

European Supervisory Authorities Launch Second Consultation on Draft Regulatory Technical Standards

The European Supervisory Authorities (ESAs) have launched a second consultation on draft Regulation Technical Standards (RTS) outlining the framework of the European Market Infrastructure Regulation (EMIR). The document is the result of engagement with other authorities and industry stakeholders and focuses only on a narrow set of topics in order to clarify and finalize all the operation issues that may arise from the implementation of the EMIR framework. These draft RTSs prescribe the regulatory amount of initial and variation margin that counterparties should exchange, as well as the methodologies for their calculations, for over-the-counter derivative transactions not subject to central clearing. The RTSs also outline the criteria for eligible collateral, and establish the criteria to ensure that such collateral is sufficiently diversified and not subject to wrong-way risk. The consultation closes on July 10, 2015.  Release.