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Foreign Exchange Settlement in Latin America and the Caribbean Joaquín Bernal Banco de la República (Colombia) Washington, World Bank Seminar, May 2007

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foreign exchange settlement in latin america and the caribbean

Foreign Exchange Settlement in Latin America and the Caribbean

Joaquín Bernal

Banco de la República (Colombia)

Washington, World Bank Seminar, May 2007

The author thanks the valuable support of Freddy Cepeda and comments by Jose A. Garcia and Jose A. Marciano. The opinions presented here are solely the responsibility of the author and do not intend to represent those of the Banco de la Republica or the WGPS-LAC

slide2
Regional context, methodology and structure of the survey

2. Results of the survey

Implementing PVP in FX settlement in LAC: country cases

Conclusions

AGENDA

slide3

IMPORTANCE OF THE SUBJECT FOR LAC

Latin American and the Caribbean (LAC) countries have made substantial improvements in their payments and securities infrastructure.

But less attention has been devoted to assessing trading and settlement practices in the domestic interbank market for FX. The subject is relevant because:

- Financial stability concerns: large size of FX transactions and interdependencies between FX market and PS participants

- Efficiency : The development of a more dynamic, liquid and deep market requires a sound and efficient infrastructure.

- Market development: FX trading and settlement systems are the first contact point of foreing investors with all the rest of financial markets in a country.

slide4

BACKGROUND REFERENCE: THE CPSS REPORT -1996

“Current settlement practices generally expose each bank to the risk that it could pay over the funds it owes on a trade, but not receive the funds it is due to receive from its counterparty…”

“…FX risks clearly have (the following dimensions): credit, liquidity, market, replacement and operational risks…FX market participants must recognize and manage each of these risks…”

Definition: “A bank´s actual exposure (amount at risk) when settling FX trades equals the full amount of the currency purchased and lasts from the time a payment instruction for the currency sold can no longer be cancelled unilaterally until the time the currency purchased is received with finality” (CPSS, March 1996)

methodology of the lac survey
The survey is based on a questionnaire that followed similar principles to the ones applied by CPSS to G-10 banks in 1995 (but shorter and simpler), aimed at identifying FX settlement practices, duration of counterparty exposures and how FXMI manage and mitigate risks

It was complemented with requests of information for the whole FX value chain (starting from trading)

A more comprehensive survey had been previously carried out in Colombia in 2000 by sending the questionnaire to all FXMI: 31 answers were received from FXMI which performed 96% of the total FX value traded

METHODOLOGY OF THE LAC SURVEY
methodology of the lac survey cont
The “model” survey was delivered to WGPS-LAC Central Banks (CB) requesting them to fill the questionnaire based on the answers received from FXMI.

Answers were received in different moments between 2004 and 2006

Many (maybe most) of the LAC CB did not actually applied the survey to their FXMI but answered the questionnaire directly based on the information they had and their knowledge of the market

METHODOLOGY OF THE LAC SURVEY (cont.)
objetives of the survey
To collect information on the circumstances under which FXMI trade and settle FX operations.

Increase market awareness and understanding of FX settlement risks

Encourage risk mitigation through actions by individual banks, industry groups and Central Banks

Identify “best practices” among LAC countries and learn from other countries´ experiences.

OBJETIVES OF THE SURVEY
structure of the survey
STRUCTURE OF THE SURVEY
  • CHARACTERISTICS OF THE FX MARKET
  • - Size of FX market / type of FXMI / currencies traded
  • Settlement mechanisms
  • Payment methods / instruments
  • II. MARKET INFRASTRUCTURE
  • Infrastructure for trading, clearing and settlement
  • Mechanisms applied to measure, monitor and mitigate risks
  • Duration of exposures (periods of irrevocability and uncertainty)
  • III. FX CLEARING AND SETTLEMET
  • STP from trading to settlement?
  • On-line information on account balances?
  • - PvP?
  • - Settlement mechanism (DNS, RTGS)
  • Clearing process: value, tariffs, risk mitigation methods, etc.
  • IV. LEGAL FRAMEWORK
  • - Protection of finality, guarantees and netting
  • Access criteria to systems
slide9

AGENDA

  • Regional context, methodology and structure of the survey

2. Results of the survey

  • Implementing PVP in FX settlement in LAC: country cases
  • Conclusions
slide10
Thirteen (13) countries participated in the Survey:

Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, ECCU, Ecuador, El Salvador, Jamaica, Mexico, Peru, Trinidad & Tobago, Uruguay and Venezuela.

Four (4) countries reported not to have a fully free interbank FX market:

Ecuador and El Salvador because they are dollarized economies

Eastern Caribbean Currency Union and Venezuela because they have strict exchange controls so that almost all FX transactions are carried out through the Central Bank at a fix rate to the US dollar.

Only the answers of nine (9) countries were considered for the purpose of the analysis hereinafter.

PARTICIPANT COUNTRIES

slide12
Currency traded

In ALC 97% of FX transactions are in USD

Trading Mechanisms

Bilateral phone trading and Electronic multilateral trading platforms (all countries except Jamaica and T&T) are the most widely used

Payment method

The electronic wire through correspondent banks in the USA (either SWIFT or proprietary systems) is the most widely used for the USD leg, while the domestic leg is settled through the National Payment

SOME BASIC FEATURES OF THE INTERBANK FX MARKET

duration of exposures
The basic settlement cycle is T+0 in Colombia, Costa Rica and Peru, t+1 in Brazil, Chile and Uruguay and t+2 in Jamaica, Mexico and T&T (but parties can in many cases agree otherwise).

The uncertainty period (time elapsed between settlement of local currency leg in the NPS and the confirmation of reception of funds abroad) ranges from less than 1 hour in the Brazilian BM&F to 7 hours in Colombia in 2000.

Uncertainty can also be reduced if banks are able to monitor their account balances:

-Monitoring of the local currency balances at the CB is possible in most countries

- In countries where both legs (foreign and local currency) are settled simultaneously (Costa Rica, Peru and Uruguay) account balances in USD can also be monitored on line. It is also the case for the Brazilian BM&F.

DURATION OF EXPOSURES
slide14
Commercial banks in most countries declare to have adopted explicit risk based methodologies for managing their relations with their counterparties and assigned clerer senior-level responsibility to it

Examples of risk mitigation mechanisms are:

Risk-based bilateral credit limits (Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Jamaica, México, Peru, Uruguay).

Position limits controled at the trading platform in Uruguay, Colombia and T&T and at the CCP in Brazil.

Multilateral aggregate position limits (Brazil-CCP, Chile, and Colombia by mid 2007 when the FX Clearing House is expected to start operations).

PvP settlement (Perú, Costa Rica, Uruguay and Brazil; Colombia e.2007; Mexico if the MXP becomes CLS eligible)

Committed lines of credit, margin requierements / collaterals and loss sharing agreements or guaranttee funds: Brazilian CCP, Colombia (expected for 2007).

METHODOLOGIES FOR ASSESSING AND MITIGATING COUNTERPARTY RISK

slide16
Protection of finality and netting

At the National Law level: Brazil, Chile, Colombia and Mexico.

CB regulations on finality: Costa Rica, Peru and Uruguay as administrator of the payment system and provider of accounts in both legs of the transaction.

Included in the Draft Bill in T&T and Uruguay

Access to clearing and settlement system

Open to all FXMI authorized to hold accounts in the RTGS system in Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Jamaica, Peru and T&T. In Uruguay, in addition to FXMI it is also granted authorization to public institutions and enterprises, administrators of pension funds and others.

Risk-based assessment: in Brazil access to BMF (CCP) is restricted to financial institutions which must pass strict risk controls, including capital and operational requirements

LEGAL FRAMEWORK

slide17
Regional context, methodology and structure of the survey

2. Results of the survey

Implementing PVP in FX settlement in LAC: country cases

Conclusions

AGENDA

slide18
The most effective means to eliminate counterparty credit risk is to ensure that a final transfer of one currency (sold) occurs only if a final transfer of the other currency (bought) takes place (PVP)

Three main alternatives adopted by countries in the region are:

1) CLS: there is press information on that the Mexican Peso is close to become a CLS eligible currency (deferred net settlement)

2) A PvP facility offered by the CB: Peru, Costa Rica and Uruguay (gross settlement)

3) A commercial domestic solution, strictly regulated by the CB: the Brazilian Central Counterparty (BM&F - 2002) and the Colombian FX Clearing House (mid-2007) (deferred net)

ALTERNATIVE PVP MODELS

slide19
Peru, Costa Rica and Uruguay have introduced in recent years a PvP facility in their RTGS System in order to allow FXMI to settle their FX transactions in CB accounts in the national currency and in USD (on a voluntary basis)

These are highly dollarized economies in which the ratio of USD denominated quasi-money to the total quasi-money is more than 40% in Peru and Costa Rica and 80% in Uruguay

This facility tackles the principal risk but only partially other risks, specially the liquidity risk since only Peru offers intraday repos (overnight in the case of Uruguay)

It does not look like a viable or efficient enough alternative for less or non-dollarized economies

PVP IN CENTRAL BANK ACCOUNTS IN THE RTGSS IN PERU, COSTA RICA AND URUGUAY

slide20
The Central Bank has led an industry effort to develop a comprehensive business model aimed at improving market practices for settling FX more safely and efficiently.

The Colombian Peso is not an eligible currency for CLS and the authorities are not aiming to become so

But they set guidelines for the private sector to develop a model based on best international practices (adapted to the Colombian institutional framework), technologically robust, based on the support of a foreign provider with experience in CLS and which is also familiar with the Colombian market

For that purpose, a private corporation was created, whose shareholders are the banks (51%), broker-dealers (25%) and the Colombian Stock Exchange (BVC, 24%), the latter also being the project manager

The “know-how” and technological platform is provided by Citigroup N.A..

THE COLOMBIAN FX

CLEARING HOUSE

slide22
Regional context, methodology and structure of the survey

2. Results of the survey

Implementing PVP in FX settlement in LAC: country cases

Conclusions

AGENDA

slide23

CONCLUSIONS

  • It is still the case for a number of LAC countries that current FX settlement practices generally expose banks to significant financial and operational risks that in some cases can last for up to two business
  • Such exposures should be more carefully evaluated by public authorities, especially in the case of the largest countries where a significant share of banks´ daily flows of domestic payments is accounted for by the settlement of FX transactions, which can even represent a significant proportion of commercial banks’ capital
  • In some countries there is an increasing awareness on risks and actions are being taken to tackle them.
slide24

CONCLUSIONS (cont.)

  • Four LAC countries (Brazil, Costa Rica, Peru and Uruguay) are already complying with the standard of PvP settlement which eliminates principal (credit) risk, and two more (Colombia FXCH and Mexico as CLS eligible) are close to implement it.
  • It would be worth repeating the survey in some countries, aiming at reaching a broader coverage and collecting more detailed information so that more awareness on the subject is developed by FXMI and the authorities themselves.
  • Also to make periodical rounds of the survey in order to assess the evolution of the market, risk mitigation practices and to strengthen cooperation among market participants, regulators and supervisors.
slide25
THANKS!!

For more details see: Bernal,J and F.Cepeda, “Foreign Exchange settlement risks in Latin America”, SPEED, Vol 1, No 3, Winter 2006-07