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(10/30) 数あて賭博 ― 最終利用者の例外措置に関する議論
JUGEMテーマ:時事ニュース
JUGEMテーマ:経済全般
 

20091030日付、The Financial Timesに載せられた記事です。

 

デリバティブ規制の流れを改めて説明した後、事業法人にとってデリバティブが有用であり、この最終利用者が金融システムを危険にさらすことはないことを理由に規制から例外的に排除する可能性について論じています。例外措置は設けるべきではないか、という意見が大勢になりつつあるように感じます。この記事でも言っている通り、その範囲をきちんと定義し規制の抜け穴を作らないようにすることはかなり困難な作業ではないかと思います。

[抄訳]

 

ここ数週間、会社役員が列を成してワシントンの政治家を訪問している。彼らが訪問をする理由は医療問題や政府の刺激策の資金を手に入れられるかどうかを話すためではない。デリバティブが彼らの議題だ。この動きがデリバティブ問題に関する草の根運動になると語る共和党議員もいる。

 

変更が加えられようとしているのは、店頭デリバティブ市場である。その規模は統計上世界最大規模だといわれ、600兆ドルの残高があるといわれている。今回の金融危機の中で特に注目を集めたのはクレジット・デリバティブだ。事前に把握されることができなかったこの商品から生じた損失によってAIGが破綻の危機に陥り、政府が救済に乗り出すことを強いられた。さらに店頭デリバティブ市場で危険なことは、参加者がお互いの信用リスクにさらされていて、参加者の一部が破綻すると連鎖的に破綻が起こる可能性があることだ。

 

現在の法律ではデリバティブは規制の枠組みの外に置かれている。今回の規制に関する提案はデリバティブを標準化しまとめて決済をすべきであることを求めている。さらに銀行やそのほかのデリバティブ利用者が資本を積みますことを求める動きもある。

 

デリバティブを利用する事業法人にとってはこれらの動きは好ましくない。特に決済機関を通して決済するということになると、多額の現金を決済機関に提供することを強いられるためである。デリバティブは事業法人にとって有用なものであり、事業法人が巨大なクレジットリスクを持ったり金融市場を危険にさらしたりするようなことはない。

 

現在の改革に関する提案に例外を設けるかどうかについては意見が分かれるところである。商品先物取引委員会の理事長は、最終利用者に対しする例外を設けるとしても、ヘッジで利用をする事業法人だけを含むように狭く定義を行うべきだという。ヘッジファンド等がこの例外に入ることを防ぐためだ。SECの理事も金融市場の安定化を求めて同様の発言をしている。

 

 

[本文]

 

Numbers game

The Financial Times

30 October 2009

 

In recent weeks, a steady stream of executives has been visiting politicians in Washington. They are not there to talk about proposed changes to the healthcare system, or about whether they can access some of the hundreds of billions of dollars of government stimulus money. Instead, they have a less attention-grabbing topic on their agenda: derivatives.

 

“The corporate end-users of derivatives are the potential ‘grass roots’ movement on this issue that, if activated, could significantly move the debate and the outcome of proposed legislation,” says Scott Garrett, a Republican congressman who is directly involved in the derivatives debate through his role as a member of one of the committees drafting legislation.

 

One part of the market facing change is the privately-traded derivatives sector. The over-the-counter derivatives market is, on paper, among the world’s largest. According to the Bank of International Settlements, the face value of contracts outstanding is nearly $600,000bn. Within that vast pool are many different types of financial instruments, the largest being interest-rate swaps, which are used either to bet on the direction of interest rates or to adjust or hedge interest rate exposures. There are also foreign exchange derivatives, equity derivatives and commodity derivatives.

 

The sub-sector that received the most attention during the financial crisis was the market for credit derivatives. It was losses on these instruments that threatened to bankrupt insurance group AIG last year, forcing a government bailout to prevent banks holding CDSs written by AIG from tumbling in its wake.

 

The other danger in these privately-traded derivatives markets came to light after the collapse of Lehman Brothers, which was one of the biggest dealers in the OTC markets and a large presence in many of the more complex derivatives markets. The danger is that dealers and investors are exposed to each other’s credit risks.

 

Such counterparty risks mean that the collapse of one can trigger a chain of collapse throughout the financial system. There is now a frantic push to bring clearing houses into the OTC derivatives market to break that chain.

 

“As the AIG situation has made clear, massive risks in derivatives markets have been going undetected by both regulators and market participants,” the US Treasury said in its first proposals of regulatory reform.

 

Under current laws, and in the spirit of free-market support that has prevailed in recent decades, many derivatives are either excluded or exempted from regulation. Current proposals recommend that standardised derivatives – still not fully defined – should be centrally cleared.

 

Other potential new rules would require all standardised derivatives – again, not yet fully defined – to be traded on exchanges or electronic trading systems, a plan that some dealers and derivatives users believe could dramatically change the market.

 

In addition, there are moves to increase the amount of capital that banks and other derivatives users have to put aside for derivatives trades that are not centrally cleared, to reflect the potential increased risk to the system of their use. For corporate users, the plans in the US and Europe to impose mandatory centralised clearing on all derivatives users has caused the most concern.

 

Companies using derivatives tend to trade them via large banks. The money they put up to cover those trades is often taken from their credit facilities, or the bank offsets that money against the company’s assets. If certain types of widely used derivatives are forced into the clearing system, companies might have to provide large amounts of cash to cover their derivatives traded.

 

That derivatives are useful to companies is a fact that non-financial companies want to stress, especially as such companies do not present significant counterparty risks or other threats to the financial system.

 

“Today, privately-negotiated derivatives are widely used by American companies,” says Robert Pickel, chief executive of the International Swaps and Derivatives Association. “We believe – and we are joined by thousands of American companies who also believe – that the customised nature of OTC risk management tools provides a substantial benefit … a benefit to our firms, our economy and our country. We must not lose sight of the important role that OTC derivatives play as we work together on financial regulatory reform.”

 

The views on whether current regulatory proposals should be of such concern are mixed. Some companies say the issues causing particular concern are exaggerated. Others, including some regulators, argue that creating any exemptions in new regulations would cause a loophole that could allow many other users of derivatives to fall below the regulatory radar.

“Any clearing exemption for end-users should be very narrowly defined to only include non-financial entities that use swaps incidental to their business to hedge actual commercial risks,” Gary Gensler, chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, told a House of Representatives committee hearing on derivatives. “We would not want an unintended consequence of an end-user exception to be that hedge funds, financial firms or other investment funds would be able to evade the clearing requirement.”

 

The trips to Washington, meanwhile, are being stepped up, not least because it is still possible that new laws will be passed this year. The US Commodities Futures Trading Commission and the Securities and Exchange Commission are both expected to be in charge of regulation OTC derivatives. But the US legislative process is sometimes lengthy and it is difficult to predict what amendments to laws will actually get passed.

 

Mary Shapiro, chairwoman of the SEC, said recently that the new rules were vital. “As we continue to push to enact this vital legislation, I hope we will all work together to minimise exclusions and exemptions and ensure robust regulation and transparency,” she said. “Fair, strong and equivalent regulation of economically similar products – without regulatory gaps or arbitrage – is an important part of building a stronger, safer financial system.”

 

| Merlion | 19:15 | comments(0) | trackbacks(0) | pookmark |
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