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Self-Regulatory Organizations; Government Securities Clearing Corporation; Order Approving a Proposed Rule Change Relating to the Enhancement of Risk Management Processes

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Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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Start Preamble June 29, 2001.

On April 17, 2000, the Government Securities Clearing Corporation (“GSCC”) filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“Commission”) a proposed rule change (File No. SR-GSCC-00-02) pursuant to Section 19(b)(1) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (“Act”).[1] Notice of the proposal was published in the Federal Register on January 9, 2001.[2] No comment letters were received. For the reasons discussed below, the Commission is approving the proposed rule change.

I. Description

A GSCC's netting member's clearing fund requirement is based on a formula designed to take into account the three basic risks posed to GSCC by netting members. These risks include: (1) That a member might not pay a funds only settlement amount due to GSCC; (2) that a member may fail to settle a long-term repo; and (3) that a member might not deliver or take delivery of securities that comprise a net settlement position.

As a result, there are three components to each member's clearing fund deposit requirement with the sum of the three being a member's overall requirement. The three components are (1) the funds adjustment (FAD) component,[3] (2) the repo volatility component,[4] and (3) the receive/deliver settlement component.[5] GSCC computes four receive/deliver settlement amounts each day. The four results are compared daily, and the largest amount is used in determining a member's clearing fund requirement. The four receive/deliver settlement computations are as follows: (1) Post-offset margin amount (POMA); [6] (2) average POMA; [7] (3) adjusted Start Printed Page 36353POMA; [8] and (4) liquidation amount. The liquidation computation, which is the subject of this rule filing, is a floor amount designed to ensure that if the margin offsets ordinarily allowed in calculating the receive/deliver settlement component do not reflect actual market conditions during a liquidation period, GSCC nonetheless will have a sufficient level of collateral protection. In other words, this minimum requirement protects against the risk that during a liquidation period the yield curve will be aberrational. In such a situation, collection of a minimum amount of margin based on gross calculation should ensure that GSCC will have sufficient collateral to cover liquidation losses.

The proposed rule change lowers the percentage calculated on the net long and net short positions in the liquidation amount calculation from 25 percent to 10 percent. GSCC believes that this more appropriately balances the level of margin it collects against the liquidity needs of its members.

GSCC believes that 25 percent was overly conservative for several reasons. First, GSCC's experience has demonstrated that its POMA and average POMA calculations provide adequate protection against potential settlement risks. By calculating an average POMA (based on a member's twenty highest POMA amounts occurring in the most recent 75 business days), GSCC ensures that it calculates a historically sufficient receive/deliver settlement component for a member even when current activity results in a relatively low requirement. Also, periodic studies conducted by GSCC assessing the risks presented to it from the potential default by a member on its obligations to GSCC have concluded that GSCC's methodologies for identifying and computings its risks provide it with a high level of protection on an individual and aggregate basis.

Second, the liquidation amount ignores and negates much of the protection afforded by a hedging strategy. The more a member engages in a hedging strategy with respect to its trading, the more it protects itself and in turn its clearing corporation from the risk of its failure. However, GSCC believes that the current 25 percent requirement effectively disregards the protection afforded to GSCC by a member that engages in trading activity on a fully hedged basis.

II. Discussion

Section 17A(b)(3)(F)[9] of the Act requires that the rules of a clearing agency be designed to assure the safeguarding of securities and funds that are in its custody or control or for which it is responsible. Because the Commission believes that even with the liquidation component of the clearing fund formula reduced from 25 percent to 10 percent, GSCC's clearing fund formula will give GSCC sufficient resources to protect it in a situation where a member is insolvent and fails to settle with GSCC. As such, the Commission believes GSCC's proposal is consistent with its obligation to assure the safeguarding of securities and funds that are in its custody or control or for which it is responsible.

III. Conclusion

On the basis of the foregoing, the Commission finds that the proposal is consistent with the requirements of the Act and in particular with the requirements of Section 17A(b)(3)(F) of the Act and the rules and regulations thereunder.

It is therefore ordered, pursuant to Section 19(b)(2) of the Act, that the proposed rule change (File No. SR-GSCC-00-02) be and hereby is approved.

Start Signature

For the Commission by the Division of Market Regulation, pursuant to delegated authority.[10]

Margaret H. McFarland,

Deputy Secretary.

End Signature End Preamble

Footnotes

2.  Securities Exchange Act Release No. 43791 (January 2, 2001), 66 FR 1709.

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3.  The funds adjustment component is based on each member's average funds only settlement amount. The relevant variable in this calculation is the size of the settlement amount. It does not matter whether the funds are to be collected from the member or paid to the member.

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4.  The repo volatility component reflects the interest rate exposure incurred by GSCC in guaranteeing the contractual rate of interest on a repo transaction. The repo volatility factor essentially represents an estimate of the amount that repo market rates might change over the remaining course of the repo.

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5.  The receive/deliver settlement component is based on the size and nature of net settlement positions. The margin collected on net settlement positions is determined by applying margin factors that are designed to estimate security price movements. The factors are expressed as percentages and are determined by historical daily price volatility. By multiplying security settlement values by their corresponding margin factors, GSCC estimates the amount of loss to which it is potentially exposed from price changes. Margin amounts on receive (long) and deliver (short) positions are allowed to offset each other. The extent to which an offset is allowed is determined by product and the degree of similarity in time remaining to maturity.

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6.  The POMA computation offsets gains against losses in liquidating a member's positions that are anticipated based on historical experience. The POMA essentially is the total margin on the current day's positions and forward net settlement positions taking into account allowable offset percentages.

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7.  The average POMA computation is based on the member's twenty highest POMA amounts occurring in the most recent 75 business days.

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8.  The adjusted POMA computation is the same as the POMA with the exception that it excludes all trades that are scheduled to settle on the current day. This is done based on the assumption that those trades will in fact settle on the current day and that calculating POMA in this manner will more accurately reflect GSCC's settlement exposure during the current day.

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9.  15 U.S.C. 78q-1(b)(3)(F).

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[FR Doc. 01-17268 Filed 7-10-01; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 8010-01-M