Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Ensuring integrity of financial benchmarks

The European Commission opened today a new public consultation related to the production and the use of indices serving as benchmarks in financial and other contracts. (Consultation on benchmarks and market indices launched following LIBOR manipulation) Certain of such indices refer to consumer data  (e.g., consumer price index - CPI, interest rate benchmarks) and may be used as benchmarks in consumer financial products (e.g., to determine the reference interest rate in a retail mortgage or consumer credit contract). As you can imagine, using a wrong benchmark to determine what the interest rate payable on variable rate mortgages, for example, should be, could lead to serious detriments for both consumers and investors. (see: Consultation document) Recently, a vulnerability of certain various, important indices, such as LIBOR, EURIBOR and TIBOR was revealed (see, e.g.: FSA final notice). Therefore, the European Commission decided to start looking for a solution that would allow it to ensure the integrity of financial benchmarks. The consultation is open to 15 November.

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