The Failure Resolution of Lehman Brothers

57 Pages Posted: 10 Apr 2014

See all articles by Michael J. Fleming

Michael J. Fleming

Federal Reserve Bank of New York

Asani Sarkar

Federal Reserve Bank of New York

Date Written: March 31, 2014

Abstract

We examine the resolution of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in order to understand the sources of complexity in its resolution and inform the debate on appropriate resolution mechanisms for financial institutions. We focus on the settlement of Lehman’s creditor and counterparty claims, especially those relating to over-the-counter derivatives, where much of the complexity of Lehman’s bankruptcy resolution was rooted. We find that creditors’ recovery rate was 21 percent, below historical averages for firms comparable to Lehman. Losses were exacerbated by poor bankruptcy planning and mitigated by timely funding from the Fed. The settlement of OTC derivatives was a long and complex process, occurring on different tracks for different groups of derivatives creditors. Consequently, the resolution process was less predictable than expected, and it was difficult to obtain an informed view of the process.

Keywords: Chapter 11, derivatives

JEL Classification: G33, G23, G01

Suggested Citation

Fleming, Michael J. and Sarkar, Asani, The Failure Resolution of Lehman Brothers (March 31, 2014). Economic Policy Review, Forthcoming, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2422433

Michael J. Fleming (Contact Author)

Federal Reserve Bank of New York ( email )

33 Liberty Street
New York, NY 10045
United States
212-720-6372 (Phone)
212-720-1582 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.newyorkfed.org/research/economists/fleming/

Asani Sarkar

Federal Reserve Bank of New York ( email )

Research Department
33 Liberty Street
New York, NY 10045
United States
212-720-8943 (Phone)
212-720-1582 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.newyorkfed.org/research/economists/sarkar/pub.html

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