The Treasury Department's Proposed Regulation of OTC Derivatives Clearing & Settlement
Christopher L. Culp
Johns Hopkins University - Institute for Applied Economics, Global Health, and Study of Business Enterprise; Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne - Swiss Finance Institute; Compass Lexecon
July 6, 2009
Journal of Applied Finance, Vol. 2 (2010)
In the wake of the ongoing credit crisis, policy makers are considering whether the regulation of over-the-counter (OTC) derivatives could help avert another such crisis and taxpayer-financed bailout. In particular, the Treasury Department has proposed to subject OTC derivatives to comprehensive regulation and to mandate the exchange trading and central counterparty clearing and settlement of standardized OTC derivatives. This paper explores the regulatory, operational, and economic aspects of the clearing and settlement of OTC derivatives and the likely consequences of the Treasury Plan. I contend that the proposal to mandate central counterparty OTC clearing for standardized products will not likely avert another potential crisis or failure of a large financial institution, but will likely engender significant legal and regulatory uncertainty, impede financial innovation, raise market participants’ costs, and adversely impact the competitiveness of U.S. derivatives participants. To address systemic and payment system concerns, improvements in the consolidated enterprise-wide supervision and regulation of certain financial institutions (across all of their risk-taking activities) will likely prove more effective and less disruptive than new product-based regulations.
Date posted: July 7, 2009 ; Last revised: December 21, 2014
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