Libor Transition Stokes Sales of Risky Corporate Debt



Managers of collateralized loan obligations — securities made up of bundled loans with junk credit ratings — are rushing to close deals ahead of the year-end move away from the London interbank offered rate. The interest-rate benchmark underpins trillions of dollars of financial contracts but was scheduled for phaseout after a manipulation scandal.

That is helping push CLO sales to records. U.S. issuance topped $19.2 billion in August, a monthly record in data going back a decade, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence’s LCD.


A wave of CLO refinancings this year allowed some managers to include fallback language shifting to SOFR in their documents, analysts said. But for other deals, CLO managers and investors must negotiate that changeover, which could create conflicts if they have different rate preferences.

Disruptions to the transition could increase the extra yield, or spread, that investors’ demand to hold triple-A rated CLO debt during the fourth quarter of this year, depending on how quickly the loan market transitions and how new CLO deals and investors position themselves, said Citi analysts in a June note.

SOFR is based on the cost of transactions in the market for overnight repurchase agreements, where large banks and hedge funds borrow or lend to one another using U.S. Treasurys as collateral. Unlike Libor, which tends to rise during periods of market stress, it doesn’t adjust for shifts in credit.

During last year’s spring selloff, the difference between three-month Libor and SOFR rose to 1.4 percentage points at its peak, according to BofA. That means CLO debtholders received a higher rate than what they would have if their bonds were linked to SOFR.

Author(s): Sebastian Pellejero

Publication Date: 12 September 2021

Publication Site: Wall Street Journal




The State of New York has enacted a new law that should ease the transition away from US dollar LIBOR for legacy financial contracts that are governed by New York law but do not contain modern benchmark fallback provisions. A similar federal law is in the works, which if passed would apply nationwide.

Author(s): Charles A. Sweet, Kurt W. Rademacher

Publication Date: 19 April 2021

Publication Site: Morgan Lewis

The end of LIBOR to be anything but simple




LIBOR, which has been plagued by cases of bank manipulation, is set at different currencies, including the U.S. dollar, British pound sterling and euro. New LIBOR-based contracts will cease at the end of 2021, but in November, the Intercontinental Exchange Inc. announced that the ICE Benchmark Administration, which administers LIBOR, would explore ceasing the most utilized U.S. dollar LIBOR tenors in June 2023 instead of late 2021. On March 5, Britain’s Financial Conduct Authority confirmed the 2021 and 2023 cessation dates for LIBOR, although it retains the option for a synthetic calculation if needed.

The extension to June 2023 would allow more time for outstanding contracts to mature, thereby reducing the chance of potential disruptions, U.S. regulators said in a December statement.

But the majority of contracts extend beyond mid-2023.

Author(s): Brian Croce

Publication Date: 8 March 2021

Publication Site: Pensions & Investments

Libor Enters ‘Final Chapter’ as Global Regulators Set End Dates




Regulators kicked off the final countdown for the London interbank offered rate Friday, ordering banks to be ready for the end of a much maligned benchmark that’s been at the heart of the international financial system for decades.

The U.K. Financial Conduct Authority confirmed that the final fixings for most rates will take place at end of this year, with just a few key dollar tenors set to linger for a further 18 months.

Author(s): William Shaw, Silla Brush, Alex Harris

Publication Date: 5 March 2021

Publication Site: Bloomberg