Credit Swaps Panel Said to Consider Conflict-of-Interest Rulesby
Proposal seeks to separate traders from decision-making
Members to be banned from discussing matters outside meetings
A derivatives industry group is proposing new rules intended to mitigate conflicts of interest on a panel of bond dealers and investors that determines when traders are paid on contracts linked to defaulted borrowers.
The proposal from the International Swaps & Derivatives Association would require firms on its so-called determinations committee to implement policies that would limit who can be involved in making the decisions for the $15 trillion credit-default swaps market, according to a document obtained by Bloomberg News. It also seeks to prohibit members from discussing decisions among each other outside of committee meetings.
Members of the committee, which includes JPMorgan Chase & Co., Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Pacific Investment Management Co., are set to vote on the proposals Thursday, according to a person with knowledge of the matter who asked not to be identified discussing a private meeting.
At least 12 of the panel’s 15 members would need to back the proposal for the rules to be adopted.
ISDA instituted these regional committees in 2009 to standardize settlements and curb risk in a market that had contributed to the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. The panel, which in recent years has ruled on contracts linked to Greece, Argentina and Caesars Entertainment Corp., has come under scrutiny because the firms making the decisions are also the biggest traders of the contracts.
Credit swaps protect banks, hedge funds and other investors against losses on a company or country’s debt or allow them to speculate on its creditworthiness.
ISDA’s seven-point proposal suggests panel members implement written policies and procedures “to require identification and management of conflicts of interest”. That includes separating the decision-makers from the derivative-trading teams at the firms.
Representatives from JPMorgan, Goldman Sachs and Pimco didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.