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RBI Sends Notification to Banks for Preparing Transition from LIBOR

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The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has issued an advisory asking banks to prepare for the transition out of London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR).

In August last year, the RBI requested banks to frame a Board-approved plan, outlining an assessment of exposures linked to LIBOR and the steps to be taken to address risks arising from the cessation of LIBOR, including preparation for the adoption of the Alternative Reference Rates (ARR).

“Banks and financial institutions are encouraged to cease, and also encourage their customers to cease, entering into new financial contracts that reference LIBOR as a benchmark and instead use any widely accepted ARR (Alternative Reference Rates), as soon as practicable and in any case by December 31, 2021,” an RBI circular said.

The directive comes with the objective of orderly, safe, and sound LIBOR transition and considering customer protection, reputational and litigation risks involved, banks or financial institutions.

While certain US dollar LIBOR settings will continue to be published till June 30, 2023, the extension of the timeline for cessation is primarily aimed at ensuring roll-off of USD LIBOR-linked legacy contracts, and not to encourage continued reliance on LIBOR.

“It is, therefore, expected that contracts referencing LIBOR may generally be undertaken after December 31, 2021, only for the purpose of managing risks arising out of LIBOR contracts (e.g. hedging contracts, novation, market-making in support of client activity, etc.), contracted on or before December 31, 2021,” it said.

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