As the markets continue to react to the COVID-19 pandemic, the trading prices of many corporate loans and bonds have fallen dramatically. As a result, many companies (or their private equity sponsors) are looking at repurchasing their debt at a discount. In addition, many companies are concerned that the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic will result in covenant breaches or other defaults and are engaging in discussions with their lenders and investors to obtain needed modifications to their debt agreements.
The Alternative Reference Rates Committee (ARRC) recently unveiled its 2020 objectives for facilitating the industry's transition away from the US dollar London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR) to the Secured Overnight Financing Rate. These goals and projected timelines build on the ARRC's previous transitioning work and aim to account for both the impact of COVID-19 on financial markets and the expectation that LIBOR will still be discontinued at the end of 2021.
The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) recently issued three no-action letters providing relief for swap transactions (and amendments to swap transactions) in connection with the expected market transition from using the London Interbank Offered Rate and other interbank offered rates. The approach is consistent with an increasing focus at the CFTC and other regulators on facilitating an orderly transition to alternative rates.
The Federal National Mortgage Association and the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation recently announced that they will stop accepting London Interbank Offered Rate-indexed adjustable-rate mortgages by the end of 2020. Additionally, the two government sponsored agencies announced that they will soon accept mortgages tied to the Secured Overnight Financing Rate later in 2020.
As a further step towards the implementation of its security-based swap regime, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has adopted a number of long-awaited capital, margin and segregation requirements for security-based swap dealers and major security-based swap participants. The SEC's final rules address one of the key remaining questions required to implement the security-based swap regime: which capital and margin requirements will apply to non-bank dealers?