Title[ Part 2: The First Pillar - Minimum Capital Requirements
Section[ 5. Guarantees and credit derivatives
(i) Operational requirements
Operational requirements common to guarantees and credit derivatives
189. A guarantee (counter-guarantee) or credit derivative must represent a direct claim on the protection provider and must be explicitly referenced to specific exposures or a pool of exposures, so that the extent of the cover is clearly defined and incontrovertible. Other than non-payment by a protection purchaser of money due in respect of the credit protection contract it must be irrevocable; there must be no clause in the contract that would allow the protection provider unilaterally to cancel the credit cover or that would increase the effective cost of cover as a result of deteriorating credit quality in the hedged exposure.54 It must also be unconditional; there should be no clause in the protection contract outside the direct control of the bank that could prevent the protection provider from being obliged to pay out in a timely manner in the event that the original counterparty fails to make the payment(s) due.
Additional operational requirements for guarantees
190. In addition to the legal certainty requirements in paragraphs 117 and 118 above, in order for a guarantee to be recognised, the following conditions must be satisfied:
(a) On the qualifying default/non-payment of the counterparty, the bank may in a timely manner pursue the guarantor for any monies outstanding under the documentation governing the transaction. The guarantor may make one lump sum payment of all monies under such documentation to the bank, or the guarantor may assume the future payment obligations of the counterparty covered by the guarantee. The bank must have the right to receive any such payments from the guarantor without first having to take legal actions in order to pursue the counterparty for payment.
(b) The guarantee is an explicitly documented obligation assumed by the guarantor.
(c) Except as noted in the following sentence, the guarantee covers all types of payments the underlying obligor is expected to make under the documentation governing the transaction, for example notional amount, margin payments etc. Where a guarantee covers payment of principal only, interests and other uncovered payments should be treated as an unsecured amount in accordance with paragraph 198.
Additional operational requirements for credit derivatives
191. In order for a credit derivative contract to be recognised, the following conditions must be satisfied:
54 Note that the irrevocability condition does not require that the credit protection and the exposure be maturity matched; rather that the maturity agreed ex ante may not be reduced ex post by the protection provider. Paragraph 203 sets forth the treatment of call options in determining remaining maturity for credit protection.
(a) The credit events specified by the contracting parties must at a minimum cover:
w failure to pay the amounts due under terms of the underlying obligation that are in effect at the time of such failure (with a grace period that is closely in line with the grace period in the underlying obligation);
w bankruptcy, insolvency or inability of the obligor to pay its debts, or its failure or admission in writing of its inability generally to pay its debts as they become due, and analogous events; and
w restructuring of the underlying obligation involving forgiveness or postponement of principal, interest or fees that results in a credit loss event (i.e. charge-off, specific provision or other similar debit to the profit and loss account). When restructuring is not specified as a credit event, refer to paragraph 192.
(b) If the credit derivative covers obligations that do not include the underlying obligation, section (g) below governs whether the asset mismatch is permissible.
(c) The credit derivative shall not terminate prior to expiration of any grace period required for a default on the underlying obligation to occur as a result of a failure to pay, subject to the provisions of paragraph 203.
(d) Credit derivatives allowing for cash settlement are recognised for capital purposes insofar as a robust valuation process is in place in order to estimate loss reliably. There must be a clearly specified period for obtaining post-credit- event valuations of the underlying obligation. If the reference obligation specified in the credit derivative for purposes of cash settlement is different than the underlying obligation, section (g) below governs whether the asset mismatch is permissible.
(e) If the protection purchaser’s right/ability to transfer the underlying obligation to the protection provider is required for settlement, the terms of the underlying obligation must provide that any required consent to such transfer may not be unreasonably withheld.
(f) The identity of the parties responsible for determining whether a credit event has occurred must be clearly defined. This determination must not be the sole responsibility of the protection seller. The protection buyer must have the right/ability to inform the protection provider of the occurrence of a credit event.
(g) A mismatch between the underlying obligation and the reference obligation under the credit derivative (i.e. the obligation used for purposes of determining cash settlement value or the deliverable obligation) is permissible if (1) the reference obligation ranks pari passu with or is junior to the underlying obligation, and (2) the underlying obligation and reference obligation share the same obligor (i.e. the same legal entity) and legally enforceable cross-default or cross-acceleration clauses are in place.
(h) A mismatch between the underlying obligation and the obligation used for purposes of determining whether a credit event has occurred is permissible if (1) the latter obligation ranks pari passu with or is junior to the underlying obligation, and (2) the underlying obligation and reference obligation share the same obligor (i.e. the same legal entity) and legally enforceable cross-default or cross- acceleration clauses are in place.
192. When the restructuring of the underlying obligation is not covered by the credit derivative, but the other requirements in paragraph 191 are met, partial recognition of the credit derivative will be allowed. If the amount of the credit derivative is less than or equal to the amount of the underlying obligation, 60% of the amount of the hedge can be recognised as covered. If the amount of the credit derivative is larger than that of the underlying obligation, then the amount of eligible hedge is capped at 60% of the amount of the underlying obligation. 55
193. Only credit default swaps and total return swaps that provide credit protection equivalent to guarantees will be eligible for recognition. The following exception applies. Where a bank buys credit protection through a total return swap and records the net payments received on the swap as net income, but does not record offsetting deterioration in the value of the asset that is protected (either through reductions in fair value or by an addition to reserves), the credit protection will not be recognised. The treatment of first-to- default and second-to-default products is covered separately in paragraphs 207 to 210.
194. Other types of credit derivatives will not be eligible for recognition at this time. 56
(ii) Range of eligible guarantors (counter-guarantors)/protection providers
195. Credit protection given by the following entities will be recognised:
w sovereign entities, 57 PSEs, banks 58 and securities firms with a lower risk weight than the counterparty;
w other entities rated A- or better. This would include credit protection provided by parent, subsidiary and affiliate companies when they have a lower risk weight than the obligor.
(iii) Risk weights
196. The protected portion is assigned the risk weight of the protection provider. The uncovered portion of the exposure is assigned the risk weight of the underlying counterparty.
197. Materiality thresholds on payments below which no payment is made in the event of loss are equivalent to retained first loss positions and must be deducted in full from the capital of the bank purchasing the credit protection.
198. Where the amount guaranteed, or against which credit protection is held, is less than the amount of the exposure, and the secured and unsecured portions are of equal seniority, i.e. the bank and the guarantor share losses on a pro-rata basis capital relief will be afforded on a proportional basis: i.e. the protected portion of the exposure will receive the treatment applicable to eligible guarantees/credit derivatives, with the remainder treated as unsecured.
199. Where the bank transfers a portion of the risk of an exposure in one or more tranches to a protection seller or sellers and retains some level of risk of the loan and the risk transferred and the risk retained are of different seniority, banks may obtain credit protection for either the senior tranches (e.g. second loss portion) or the junior tranche (e.g. first loss portion). In this case the rules as set out in Section IV (Credit risk ? securitisation framework) will apply.
(iv) Currency mismatches
200. Where the credit protection is denominated in a currency different from that in which the exposure is denominated — i.e. there is a currency mismatch — the amount of the exposure deemed to be protected will be reduced by the application of a haircut HFX, i.e.
GA = G x (1 – HFX)
G = nominal amount of the credit protection
HFX = haircut appropriate for currency mismatch between the credit protection and underlying obligation.
The appropriate haircut based on a 10-business day holding period (assuming daily marking- to-market) will be applied. If a bank uses the supervisory haircuts it will be 8%. The haircuts must be scaled up using the square root of time formula, depending on the frequency of revaluation of the credit protection as described in paragraph 168.
(v) Sovereign guarantees and counter-guarantees
201. As specified in paragraph 54, a lower risk weight may be applied at national discretion to a bank’s exposures to the sovereign (or central bank) where the bank is incorporated and where the exposure is denominated in domestic currency and funded in that currency. National authorities may extend this treatment to portions of claims guaranteed by the sovereign (or central bank), where the guarantee is denominated in the domestic currency and the exposure is funded in that currency. A claim may be covered by a guarantee that is indirectly counter-guaranteed by a sovereign. Such a claim may be treated as covered by a sovereign guarantee provided that:
(a) the sovereign counter-guarantee covers all credit risk elements of the claim;
(b) both the original guarantee and the counter-guarantee meet all operational requirements for guarantees, except that the counter-guarantee need not be direct and explicit to the original claim; and
(c) the supervisor is satisfied that the cover is robust and that no historical evidence suggests that the coverage of the counter-guarantee is less than effectively equivalent to that of a direct sovereign guarantee.