A Transparency Standard for Derivatives
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Chapter in forthcoming NBER book Risk Topography: Systemic Risk and Macro Modeling, Markus K. Brunnermeier and Arvind Krishnamurthy, editors
Derivatives exposures across large financial institutions often contribute to – if not necessarily create – systemic risk. Current reporting standards for derivatives exposures are nevertheless inadequate for assessing these systemic risk contributions. In this paper, I explain how a transparency standard, in contrast to the current standard, would facilitate such risk analysis. I also demonstrate that such a standard is implementable by providing examples of existing disclosures from large dealer firms in their quarterly filings. These disclosures often contain useful firm-level data on derivatives, but due to a lack of standardization, they cannot be aggregated to assess the risk to the system. I highlight the important contribution that reporting the “margin coverage ratio” (MCR), namely the ratio of a derivatives dealer’s cash (or liquidity, more broadly) to its contingent collateral or margin calls in case of a significant downgrade of its credit quality, could make toward assessing systemic risk contributions.
This paper was revised on February 3, 2012A Transparency Standard for Derivatives, Viral V. Acharya
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