Transition to sterling risk-free rates from Libor

Together with the FCA, we are working with market participants to catalyse a transition to using SONIA as the primary interest rate benchmark in sterling markets.

Overview

The Working Group on Sterling Risk-Free Reference Rates was established in 2015 to implement the Financial Stability Board's recommendation to develop alternative risk-free rates (RFRs) for use instead of Libor-style reference rates.  In April 2017, the Working Group recommended the SONIA benchmark as their preferred RFR and since then has been focused on how to transition to using SONIA across sterling markets. 

Please note the views and outputs of the Working Group are not necessarily endorsed by the Bank of England or the FCA.

Working Group updates (2019 onwards)

SONIA task forces

On 7 February, the Working Group agreed to set up three priority task forces on SONIA to look at term rates, accounting treatment and regulatory dependencies. 

We are seeking people to support these task forces by providing expert advice, participating on a pro bono basis. If your firm has an interest in the transition to SONIA, we invite you to express your interest. This includes professional service firms. In particular, accountancy firms, law firms and financial consultancies. Individuals and firms should not use their participation or contribution for marketing purposes. 

If you would like more information, or to express your interest, please contact RFR.Secretariat@bankofengland.co.uk.

Infrastructure Forum – 31 January 2019

The Infrastructure Forum enabled the RFRWG to engage with infrastructure and systems providers on key impacted markets and to better understand any outstanding issues - and potential solutions - for infrastructure to support the development of SONIA and other RFR linked products. 

Infrastructure firms play a key role in supporting a successful transition to RFR and helping to reduce the financial stability risks arising from the widespread reliance of financial markets on LIBOR. The RFRWG (supported by the Bank of England and the Financial Conduct Authority) are grateful for the engagement received to date in this market-led transition effort. 

Slides of the presentation and a summary note of the forum is available to download in the documents section below. If there are specific topics or questions that you would like to share with us, please contact the RFR Secretariat on the following email address: RFR.Secretariat@bankofengland.co.uk

Catalysing transition to SONIA as the risk-free rate (2018)

The Working Group’s mandate is to catalyse a broad-based transition to using SONIA – the market’s preferred risk-free rate – as the primary sterling interest rate benchmark in bond, loan and derivatives markets, over the next four years. That reflects concerns about the sustainability of Libor beyond 2021.

The Working Group on Sterling Risk-Free Reference Rates (RGRWG) issued a consultation on forward-looking Term Sonia Reference Rates (TSRR) on 17 July 2018, that closed on 26 October 2018.  The consultation attracted 45 responses from a wide variety of market participants.  The RFRWG published a summary of responses on 23 November 2018, compiled by the Bank of England acting as RFR Secretariat.

The membership of the Working Group includes banks and dealers, investment managers, non-financial corporates and other sterling issuers, infrastructure firms and trade associations. We have published the full list of member firms and membership selection criteria.

We invite further expressions of interest in participating in transition work either as members of technical sub-groups or market sector forums to share views on aspects of the transition. This includes expressions of interest from professional services firms, in particular accountancy firms, law firms and financial consultancies where the work would be on a pro bono basis to provide expert input to the working group and related sub-groups.

*Please note: Market participants and professional service firms expressing their interest should not use their participation or contribution for marketing purposes.

For more details or to express interest, please contact RFR.Secretariat@bankofengland.co.uk.

The choice of SONIA as the risk-free rate (2015 to 2017)

In the Working Group’s first phase they considered available risk-free rates and in April 2017, following two years of deliberations, the Working Group announced SONIA as its’ preferred risk-free interest rate benchmark for use in sterling derivatives and relevant financial contracts.  

The Working Group published a White Paper explaining its choice, seeking feedback on approaches to adoption and a gaining a better understanding of the views of a broad set of stakeholders. Feedback to the White Paper – and at an industry Roundtable hosted  by the Working Group in July 2017 – confirmed strong support for SONIA as the preferred sterling risk-free rate.

PDFWhite Paper: SONIA as the risk-free rate and approaches to adoption

This page was last updated 20 February 2019
Was this page useful?
Add your details...