Howard S. Altarescu

Partner

New York


Read full biography at www.orrick.com

Howard Altarescu is a partner in Orrick’s Finance Group. He co-leads the Firm’s global Fintech team, helping industry participants navigate this complex and evolving sector.

Howard Altarescu advises bank and non-bank financial institutions and governmental agencies in connection with innovative capital markets, debt financing and other transactions, as well as on the implications of financial markets regulation. Howard also co-heads the firm's Fintech team, which is focused on serving a wide array of fintech platforms and other businesses. Howard has previously served as Orrick's Finance Sector Leader, responsible for implementing the firm's strategy to provide distinctive transactional, litigation and regulatory services to financial institution clients globally, as well as co-head of the firm’s Finance Business Unit. In these roles, Howard has a broad strategic, advisory and business development role at the firm, drawing on many years of experience, both in law firms and as a banker helping clients develop innovative financial solutions to meet their objectives.

Most recently, Howard has worked on securitizations and other structured financings backed by marketplace loans and has advised numerous clients on the implications of the Madden v. Midland Funding case, the OCC "fintech charter" and related legal issues. Howard has also recently worked on a number of groundbreaking mortgage credit risk transfer transactions between Fannie Mae and major banks and other clients.

Posts by: Howard S. Altarescu

LIBOR Transition: Takeaways from the Benchmark Rates Series – Benchmark Rates Forum New York

 

Presenters at the Benchmark Rates Forum from Orrick, KPMG, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, NatWest Markets, Wells Fargo, JP Morgan, TD Securities, RBS, Santander, Société Générale, UBS, the Federal Home Loan Bank of New York, the LSTA and Pendo Systems addressed a wide variety of market, legal and other LIBOR transition issues (some also discussed at the recent ARRC Roundtable – see Orrick Client Alert on Takeaways from the Roundtable). Uncertain timing of the transition, the remaining uncertainty as to the alternative benchmark to be chosen by the market and the continued lack of preparedness of large parts of the market were recurring themes in many of the presentations. Full Article.

ARRC Releases Consultations on Fallback Contract Language for Bilateral Business Loans and Securitizations for Public Feedback

 

The Alternative Reference Rates Committee (“ARRC“) released consultations on U.S. dollar (“USD“) LIBOR fallback contract language for bilateral business loans and securitizations for public feedback. These consultations outline draft language for new contracts that reference LIBOR so as to ensure these contracts will continue to be effective in the event that LIBOR is no longer usable.

The ARRC is seeking feedback on each proposed approach and on the key issues involved. Comments should be sent to the ARRC Secretariat ([email protected]) no later than February 5, 2019.

Questions regarding the consultations should also be sent to the ARRC Secretariat ([email protected]) and will not be posted for attribution.

LIBOR Transition Update

 

The Alternative Reference Rates Committee (“ARRC“) released additional information regarding its support of the transition from U.S. dollar (“USD“) LIBOR. The ARRC provided a timeline of key milestones. In addition, the ARRC has also released a set of Frequently Asked Questions (“FAQs“) regarding the previously released consultation on USD LIBOR fallback contract language for floating rate notes (“FRNs“). The FRN consultation primarily focuses on new transactions, and, at this time, the ARRC does not intend to produce consultations specifically related to amending outstanding FRNs or other cash products.

The consultation on FRNs and the similar consultation for U.S. syndicated loans are open for public feedback through November 8. (FRN Consultation; U.S. Syndicated Loans Consultation). Comments should be sent to the ARRC Secretariat ([email protected]) no later than November 8. Comments will be posted on ARRC’s website.

Investigation of Small Business Lending Practices of Fintech Companies

 

Last year, Congressman Emanuel Cleaver II (D-MO) launched an investigation into the small business lending practices of Financial Technology “Fintech” companies, studying the various methods companies use to protect against discriminatory practices. One of the primary concerns raised by Congressman Cleaver was the specific algorithms used by Fintech firms. Click here to view the full report.

Federal Regulators Issue Key Guidance on Fintech Issues

 

On July 30, 2018, the U.S. Department of the Treasury (“Treasury“) and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (“OCC“) provided important guidance on a broad range of issues confronting the fintech industry. Treasury released a long-awaited report titled A Financial System That Creates Economic Opportunities: Nonbank Financials, Fintech, and Innovation (the “Treasury Report“).

Following a specific recommendation in the Treasury Report, the OCC formally announced that it would begin to accept applications for special purpose national bank charters, and it provided guidance on the procedures and standards that would govern such applications through the issuance of a Licensing Manual Supplement for Special Purpose National Banks (the “Manual Supplement“). Taken together, the Treasury Report and the OCC announcement reinforce the commitment of the federal government to promote the growth of the fintech industry. Click here to read the full Orrick-authored alert.

ISDA Consultation Paper, “IBOR Fallbacks for 2006 ISDA Definitions: Consultation on Certain Aspects of Fallbacks for Derivatives Referencing GBP LIBOR, CHF LIBOR, JPY LIBOR, TIBOR, Euroyen TIBOR and BBSW”

 

ISDA has launched a market-wide consultation on technical issues related to new benchmark fallbacks for derivatives contracts that reference certain interbank offered rates (“IBORs“). The consultation sets out options for adjustments that would apply to the fallback rate in the event an IBOR is permanently discontinued.

The ISDA consultation paper is here.

“The consultation sets out four options to account for the move from a term rate to an overnight rate: a spot overnight rate; a convexity adjusted overnight rate; a compounded setting in arrears rate; and a compound setting in advance rate. Three options are also proposed to calculate a spread adjustment: a forward approach; a historical mean/median approach; and a spot-spread approach. In each case, the spread adjustment will be fixed at the point the fallback is triggered.”

Speech by Andrew Bailey, Chief Executive of the FCA, Interest Rate Benchmark Reform: Transition to a World Without LIBOR

 

Highlights:

  • Why firms need to end their reliance on LIBOR by end-2021.
  • Why overnight risk-free rates (“RFRs“) are the right foundation for interest rate markets.
  • The progress made on transition to these overnight risk-free rates and the work that remains to be done.

“I hope it is already clear that the discontinuation of LIBOR should not be considered a remote probability ‘black swan’ event. Firms should treat it is as something that will happen and which they must be prepared for. Ensuring that the transition from LIBOR to alternative interest rate benchmarks is orderly will contribute to financial stability. Misplaced confidence in LIBOR’s survival will do the opposite, by discouraging transition.

There is some good news to report on the important steps taken towards transition. But the pace of that transition is not yet fast enough. There is much further to go.” Release.

FSB Statement “Interest Rate Benchmark Reform: Overnight Risk-free Rates and Term Rates”

 

The Financial Stability Board (“FSB“) recently published a statement on reforms to interbank offered rates (“IBORs“) and the development of overnight risk-free, or nearly risk-free, rates (“RFRs“) and term rates. Release.

“The FSB continues to encourage the development and adoption of these overnight RFRs where appropriate, for example in business where term properties are not needed, or where exposure to bank credit risk is not necessary or desirable. This will enhance financial stability. […]

An overnight RFR may not, however, be the optimal rate in all the cases where term IBORs are currently used. The FSB recognises that in some cases there may be a role for term rates, including RFR-derived term rates, or term rates derived from other liquid market.”

LIBOR “Transition”

 

While there is a way to go until the end of 2021 when panel banks will no longer be required to provide LIBOR quotes to the FCA, we expect to see more and more discussion regarding alternative benchmarks that might be used on outstanding and on new financings, the issues raised by the possible alternatives, overnight and term financing considerations, credit spreads and all related issues. Three recent statements and papers distributed by the SFIG LIBOR Task Force late last week begin to discuss these issues.

ISDA, AFME, ICMA, SIFMA and SIFMA AMG Publish Global Benchmark Report

 

The International Swaps and Derivatives Association (“ISDA“), the Association of Financial Markets in Europe (“AFME“), International Capital Market Association (“ICMA“) and the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association (“SIFMA“) and its asset management group (SIFMA AMG) have published a new report that assesses the issues involved with benchmark reform, and makes recommendations on steps firms can take to prepare for the transition from interbank offered rates (“IBORs“) to alternative risk-free rates (“RFRs“). Click here to read the full report.