Introduction to the IBOR transition
The London Interbank Offered Rate, LIBOR, was created in 1969 as a solution by a syndicate of banks granting a loan to the Middle East to mitigate the risk of low interest rate margins to the banks in case of rising interest rates. Rather than haggling on the interest rate each bank used, syndicate member banks quoted their interst rates periodically to each other. The average interest rate of those quotes became the LIBOR benchmark. LIBOR was used more and more. In the 1980's interest rates swaps were based on the LIBOR benchmark. Thanks to these contracts LIBOR was swapped for fixed interst rates, enabling investors to hedge against a rise or fall of interst rates.
In the Netherlands pension funds were forced to use interest rate swaps with the introduction of the Financial Frame Work Regulation which stated that pension funds' obligations must be valued using the euro swap interest rate. The fixed rate is swapped for the 6 month Euribor interest rate.
Pension funds and insurance companies use interest rate swaps to hedge against declining interest rates. When interest rates fall, their monetary obligations become more expensive which they wish to avoid. For these interest rate swaps the EONIA interst rate bench mark is used. Pension funds use LIBOR for their mandatory swaps, and EONIA for hedging and risk management purposes.
Since 2007 it has become clear that the LIBOR interest rate benchmark had been manipulated by bankers, resulting in regulation of interest rate benchmarks. The Financial Conduct Authority in the United Kingdom has announced that it will stop requiring banks to report the transactions that are used to calculate LIBOR, which leads to the creation of alternative reference interest rates benchmarks. The transition from LIBOR to these alternative reference rates is the topic of this seminar today. It impacts the carrying out of pension plans, contracts, IT systems and investment management activities of pension funds and insurance companies.