On Nov. 16, 2021, the Financial Conduct Authority (“FCA”) made an announcement confirming the allowance to use synthetic LIBOR for sterling and Japanese yen after the 2021 year-end, as well as confirming the prohibition to use USD LIBOR in new contracts after the 2021 year-end.
First, the FCA confirmed that it will allow the temporary use of ‘synthetic’ sterling and yen LIBOR rates in all legacy contracts, other than cleared derivatives, that have not been changed at or ahead of the Dec. 31, 2021 LIBOR cessation date. Due to the risk of disruption to markets and consumers if interest payments cannot be calculated in LIBOR loans, mortgages, bonds, and other contracts that have not switched by the 2021 year-end, the FCA is requiring the publication of 1M, 3M and 6M LIBOR rates for sterling and Japanese yen on a synthetic basis until the end of 2022 to allow more time to complete transition. The FCA stressed that these synthetic rates will not be available for use in any new contracts. On Sept. 29, 2021, the FCA had announced its decision on a methodology to calculate synthetic LIBOR, approximating what LIBOR might have been in the future, which is based on the forward-looking term version of the relevant risk-free rate plus the respective ISDA fixed spread adjustment.
Second, the FCA, in the same Nov. 16, 2021 announcement, also noted that it has confirmed that, despite the fact that five USD LIBOR settings will continue to be published until June 30, 2023, the use of USD LIBOR will not be allowed in most new contracts written after Dec. 31, 2021. The prohibition does not apply to contracts relating to market making which supports USD LIBOR transactions executed before Jan. 1, 2022, transactions that reduce or hedge the supervised entity’s or client’s USD LIBOR exposure in contracts executed before Jan. 1, 2022 and novations of USD LIBOR transactions executed before Jan. 1, 2022, among other transactions.