Federal Reserve Board Issues Guidance On Risk Transfers


On December 20, the Federal Reserve Board issued SR 13-23, which clarifies the Federal Reserve’s supervisory expectations when assessing a firm’s capital adequacy in certain circumstances when the risk-based capital framework may not fully capture the residual risks of a transaction. The letter states that, while the Federal Reserve generally views a firm’s engagement in risk-reducing transactions as a sound risk management practice, there are certain risk-reducing transactions for which the risk-based capital framework may not fully capture the residual risks that a firm faces on a post-transaction basis. The letter addresses two specific characteristics of risk transfer transactions that give rise to this concern: (i) a firm transfers the risk of a portfolio to a counterparty that is unable to absorb losses equal to the risk-based capital requirement for the risk transferred; or (ii) a firm transfers the risk of a portfolio to an unconsolidated, “sponsored” affiliate entity. The letter stresses that bank supervisors will strongly scrutinize risk transfer transactions that result in substantial reductions in risk-weighted assets, including in supervisors’ assessment of a firm’s overall capital adequacy, capital planning, and risk management through the Comprehensive Capital Analysis and Review. The Federal Reserve may in certain cases determine not to recognize a transaction as a risk mitigant for risk-based capital purposes. Supervisors will evaluate whether a firm can adequately demonstrate that the firm has taken into account any residual risks in connection with the transaction.

Topics:  Federal Reserve, Risk Management, Transfers

Published In: Finance & Banking Updates

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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