The end is coming for Libor and financial markets need to get ready.
That’s the view of Morgan Stanley’s Tom Wipf. He heads the Federal Reserve’s Alternative Reference Rates Committee, which on Thursday released recommendations for language to enable contracts linked to the beleaguered London interbank offered rate to work even if the benchmark disappears.
Darrell Duffie, a finance professor at Stanford University, has also underscored the risks involved with shifting away from a set of benchmarks that underpin some $200 trillion in dollar-denominated instruments.
“This is the largest financial engineering project the world has ever seen,” Duffie said on a conference call hosted by financial-technology firm GLMX on Thursday.
He said that the risks associated with shifting from Libor to the Secured Overnight Financing Rate — the ARRC’s preferred alternative — can be mitigated if market participants convert contracts early and if regulators announce the change date “well in advance.”
Such a transition is by no means assured though. While Libor suffers from various defects and has been tainted by rigging controversies, the battle to replace it is far from over.