1. Definition of a
A derivative is a financial instrument:
(a) whose value changes in response
to the change in a specified interest rate, security price, commodity price,
foreign exchange rate, index of prices or rates, a credit rating or credit
index, or similar variable (sometimes called the 'underlying');
(b) that requires no initial
net investment or little initial net investment relative to other types of
contracts that have a similar response to changes in market conditions; and
(c) that is settled at a future
1.1 In India, different derivatives
instruments are permitted and regulated by various regulators, like Reserve
Bank of India (RBI), Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) and Forward
Markets Commission (FMC). Broadly, RBI is empowered to regulate the interest
rate derivatives, foreign currency derivatives and credit derivatives. For regulatory
purposes, derivatives have been defined in the Reserve Bank of India Act, as
"derivative" means an
instrument, to be settled at a future date, whose value is derived from change
in interest rate, foreign exchange rate, credit rating or credit index, price
of securities (also called "underlying"), or a combination of more
than one of them and includes interest rate swaps, forward rate agreements,
foreign currency swaps, foreign currency-rupee swaps, foreign currency options,
foreign currency-rupee options or such other instruments as may be specified
by the Bank from time to time.
1.2 These guidelines would supersede
the existing guidelines issued by RBI at various points of time on financial
derivatives, unless otherwise specifically indicated.
2. Derivatives Markets
There are two distinct groups of
Over-the-counter (OTC) derivatives: Contracts
that are traded directly between two eligible parties, with or without the use
of an intermediary and without going through an exchange.
Exchange-traded derivatives: Derivative products
that are traded on an exchange.
Derivatives serve a useful risk-management
purpose for both financial and non-financial firms. It enables transfer
of various financial risks to entities who are more willing or better suited
to take or manage them. Participants of this market can broadly be classified
into two functional categories, namely, market-makers and users.
user participates in the derivatives
market to manage an underlying risk.
market-maker provides continuous bid
and offer prices to users and other market-makers. A market-maker need
not have an underlying risk.
At least one party to a derivative
transaction is required to be a market-maker.
Users can undertake derivative
transactions to hedge - specifically reduce or extinguish an existing
identified risk on an ongoing basis during the life of the derivative transaction
- or for transformation of risk exposure, as specifically permitted
Market-makers can undertake
derivative transactions to act as counterparties in derivative transactions
with users and also amongst themselves.
Scheduled Commercial Banks (excluding RRBs)
& Primary Dealers* (PDs) who wish to operate as market-makers may
apply to the RBI for approval to operate as market-makers in the desired
markets. However, entities currently undertaking market-making functions
may continue to undertake permitted transactions, subject to their obtaining
such approval within a period of six months from the date of this circular.
This approval would be subject to periodic review.
Entities with identified underlying risk exposure.
6. Broad principles for undertaking
The major requirements for undertaking
any derivative transaction from the regulatory perspective would include:
Market-makers may undertake any derivative structured
product (a combination of permitted cash and generic derivative instruments)
as long as it is a combination of two or more of the generic instruments permitted
by RBI and the market-makers should be in a position to mark to market or
demonstrate valuation of these constituent products based on observable market
prices. Hence, it may be ensured that structured products do not contain any
derivative, which is not allowed on a stand alone basis. Moreover, second
order derivatives, like swaption, option on future, compound option etc. are
A user should not have a net short options position,
either on a stand alone basis or in a structured product, except to the extent
of permitted covered calls and puts.
All permitted derivative transactions, including
roll over, restructuring and novation shall be contracted only at prevailing
market rates. Mark-to-market gain/loss on roll over, restructuring, novation
etc. should be cash-settled.
All risks arising from derivatives exposures
should be analysed and documented.
The management of derivatives activities should
be an integral part of the overall risk management policy and mechanism. It
is desirable that the board of directors and senior management understand
the risks inherent in the derivatives activities being undertaken.
Market-makers should have a ‘Suitability and
Appropriateness Policy’ vis-à-vis users in respect of the products
offered, on the lines indicated in these guidelines.
Market-makers and users regulated by RBI should
not undertake any derivative transaction involving the rupee that partially
or fully offset a similar but opposite risk position undertaken by their subsidiaries/branches/group
entities at offshore location(s).
Market-makers may maintain cash margin/liquid
collateral in respect of derivative transactions undertaken by users on mark-to-market
basis, irrespective of the latter’s credit risk assessment.
7. Permissible derivative instruments
At present, the following types
of derivative instruments are permitted, subject to certain conditions:
Interest rate derivatives – Interest Rate
Swap (IRS), Forward Rate Agreement (FRA), and Interest Rate Future (IRF).
Foreign Currency derivatives – Foreign
Currency Forward, Currency Swap and Currency Option.
The definition of these generic
derivatives are provided in the Appendix A.
7.1. Rupee Interest Rate Derivatives
(a) Product Market:
(i) Over the Counter (OTC)
– Forward Rate Agreements &
Interest Rate Swaps
(ii) Exchange Traded – Interest
(i) Forward Rate Agreement (FRA)
(ii) Interest Rate Swap (IRS)
Eligible entities can undertake
different types of plain vanilla FRAs/ IRS. Swaps having explicit/ implicit
option features such as caps/ floors/ collars are not permitted.
(iii) Interest Rate Futures (IRF)
(c) Benchmark Rate/s for FRA/ IRS
Any domestic money or debt market
rupee interest rate; or, rupee interest rate implied in the forward foreign
exchange rates, as permitted by RBI in respect of MIFOR swaps.(cf paragraph
3 of DBOD Circular No. DBOD.BP.BC.
53/ 21.04.157/ 2005-06 dated December 28, 2005)
Scheduled Commercial Banks (excluding
Regional Rural Banks), Primary Dealers, specified All-India Financial institutions
(AFIs) and corporate entities, including Mutual Funds.
(i) For Forward Rate Agreement
/ Interest Rate Swap - Scheduled Commercial Banks (excluding Regional Rural
Banks) and Primary Dealers.
(ii) For Interest Rate Future
– Primary Dealers.
(i) For hedging (as defined in
paragraph 4 above) underlying exposures
(ii) Banks, PDs and AFIs can undertake FRA/
IRS to hedge the interest rate risk on any item(s) of asset or liability on
their balance sheet.
(iii) Banks may undertake interest rate futures
transactions to hedge the interest rate risk on their investments in Government
securities in AFS and HFT portfolios.
(iv) PDs may hold trading position in IRF,
subject to internal guidelines in this regard.
7.2 Foreign exchange derivatives
(i) Foreign exchange forwards
(ii) Cross currency swaps
(iii) Foreign currency rupee swaps
(iv) Cross currency options
(v) Foreign currency rupee options
There are four main modifications
to the instructions contained in the extant guidelines issued by Foreign Exchange
Department, RBI with regard to the above instruments, viz;
(i) Users, such as importers and
exporters having crystallized (evidenced by firm order, opening of LC or actual
shipment), un-hedged foreign exchange receivables and payables in respect of
current account transactions may write covered call and put options in both
foreign currency/ rupee and cross currency and receive premia.
(ii) Market-makers may write cross currency
(iii) Market-makers may offer plain vanilla
American foreign currency-rupee options.
(iv) A person resident in India, who has
a foreign exchange or rupee liability, is permitted to enter into a foreign
currency rupee swap for hedging long-term exposure. For purposes of clarity,
the term "long-term exposure" may be defined to mean "exposure
with residual maturity of three years or more".
i. Foreign Exchange Forwards
Persons resident in India with crystallized
foreign currency / foreign interest rate exposure, as permitted by RBI
Persons resident outside India with genuine
currency exposure to the rupee, as permitted by RBI
Authorised Dealers Category – I Banks
(i) Residents in India
To hedge crystallized foreign currency / foreign
interest rate exposure
To transform exposure in one currency to another
(ii) Residents outside India
To hedge or transform permitted foreign currency
exposure to the rupee, as permitted by RBI.
ii Foreign Currency Rupee Swap
A person resident in India who has a long-term
foreign currency or rupee liability
Authorised Dealers Category – I Banks
To hedge or transform exposure in foreign
currency / foreign interest rate to rupee / rupee interest rate
Can only take up residual positions, as permitted
by RBI and not allowed to run a book.
Iii Cross Currency options
A person resident in India with crystallized
foreign currency exposure, as permitted by RBI.
Authorised Dealers Category – I Banks, approved
as market-maker by RBI.
To hedge or transform foreign currency exposure
arising out of current account transactions
To cover risks arising out of market-making
in foreign currency rupee options as well as cross currency options, as
permitted by RBI
iv Foreign Currency Rupee Options
Customers of market-makers who have genuine
foreign currency exposures, as permitted by RBI.
Authorised Dealers Category - I Banks for
the purpose of hedging trading books and balance sheet exposures.
Authorized Dealers Category-I Banks, approved
Authorized Dealers Category-I Banks who are
not market-makers can write foreign currency rupee options on a back-to-back
basis, provided they have a CRAR of 9% or above.
To hedge currency exposure
v. Other Products
For certain specific purposes,
RBI has permitted the use of cross currency swaps, caps and collars and FRAs.
For example, entities with borrowings in foreign currency under ECB are permitted
to use cross currency swaps, caps and collars and FRA for transformation of
and/or hedging foreign currency and interest rate risks. These three products
can be offered only for the purposes specified by RBI and not otherwise. Use
of any of these products in a structured product not conforming to the specific
purposes is not permitted.
In respect of foreign exchange
derivatives, market participants may be guided by the instructions issued by
Foreign Exchange Department, RBI from time to time to the extent indicated in
these guidelines. The instructions contained in this circular are broad principles
providing a framework, while the operational guidelines, as provided in the
Master Circular on Risk Management and Inter-Bank Dealings will be reviewed
from time to time under this framework.
8. Risk management and corporate
This section sets out the basic
principles of a prudent system to control the risks in derivatives activities.
a) appropriate oversight by
the board of directors and senior management;
b) adequate risk management
process that integrates prudent risk limits, sound measurement procedures and
information systems, continuous risk monitoring and frequent management reporting;
c) comprehensive internal controls
and audit procedures.
8.1 Corporate governance
a) It is vital, while dealing
with potentially complex products, such as derivatives that the board and senior
management should understand the nature of the business which the bank is undertaking.
This includes an understanding of the nature of the relationship between risk
and reward, in particular an appreciation that it is inherently implausible
that an apparently low risk business can generate high rewards.
b) The board of directors and senior
management also need to demonstrate through their actions that they have a strong
commitment to an effective control environment throughout the organization.
c) The board and senior management,
in addition to advocating prudent risk management, should encourage more stable
and durable return performance and discourage high, but volatile returns.
d) The board of directors and
senior management should ensure that the organization of the bank is conducive
to managing risk. It is necessary to ensure that clear lines of responsibility
and accountability are established for all business activities, including derivative
e) The central risk control function
at the head office should also ensure that there is sufficient awareness of
the risks and the size of exposure of the trading activities in derivatives
f) The compliance risks in all
new products and processes should be thoroughly analysed and appropriate risk
mitigants by way of necessary checks and balances should be put in place before
the launching of new products. The Chief Compliance Officer must be involved
in the mechanism for approval of new products and all such products should be
signed off by him. In respect of the products that exist already, there should
be a review thereof in the light of these guidelines by the same mechanism and
in a similar manner. All new products should be subjected to intensive monitoring
for the first six months of introduction to ensure that the indicative parameters
of compliance risk are adequately monitored.
8.2 Board and senior management
Consistent with its general responsibility
for corporate governance, the board should approve written policies which define
the overall framework within which derivatives activities should be conducted
and the risks controlled. The management of derivative activities should be
integrated into the bank’s overall risk management system using a conceptual
framework common to the bank’s other activities.
The policy framework for derivatives
approved by the board may be general in nature. But the framework should cover
the following aspects:
a) establish the institution's
overall appetite for taking risk and ensure that it is consistent with its strategic
objectives, capital strength and management capability to hedge or transfer
risk effectively, efficiently and expeditiously.
b) define the approved derivatives
products and the authorized derivatives activities.
c) detail requirements for the
evaluation and approval of new products or activities.
d) provide for sufficient staff
resources and other resources to enable the approved derivatives activities
to be conducted in a prudent manner;
e) ensure appropriate structure
and staffing for the key risk control functions, including internal audit;
f) establish management responsibilities;
g) identify the various types
of risk faced by the bank and establish a clear and comprehensive set of limits
to control these;
h) establish risk measurement
methodologies which are consistent with the nature and scale of the derivatives
i) require stress testing of
risk positions ; and
j) detail the type and frequency
of reports which are to be made to the board (or committees of the board).
The type of reports to be received
by the board should include those which indicate the levels of risk being undertaken
by the institution, the degree of compliance with policies, procedures and limits,
and the financial performance of the various derivatives and trading activities.
Internal and external audit reports should be reviewed by a board-level audit
committee and significant issues of concern should be drawn to the attention
of the board.
8.3 Suitability and Appropriateness
The rapid growth of the derivatives
market, especially structured derivatives has increased the focus on ‘suitability’
and ‘appropriateness’ of derivative products being offered by market-makers
to customers (users) as also customer appropriateness. Market-makers should
undertake derivative transactions, particularly with users with a sense of responsibility
and circumspection that would avoid, among other things, misselling. It is an
imperative that market-makers offer derivative products in general, and structured
products, in particular, only to those users who understand the nature of the
risks inherent in these transactions and further that products being offered
are consistent with users’ business, financial operations, skill & sophistication,
internal policies as well as risk appetite. Inadequate understanding of the
risks and future obligations under the contracts by the users, in the initial
stage, may lead to potential disputes and thus cause damage to the reputation
of market-makers. The market-makers may also be exposed to credit risk if the
counterparty fails to meet his financial obligations under the contract.
The market-makers should carry
out proper due diligence regarding ‘user appropriateness’ and ‘suitability’
of products before offering derivative products to users. Each market-maker
should adopt a board-approved ‘Customer Appropriateness & Suitability Policy’
for derivatives business.
The objective of the policy is
prudential in nature: to protect the market-maker against the credit, reputation
and litigation risks that may arise from a user’s inadequate understanding of
the nature and risks of the derivatives transaction. In general, market-makers
should not undertake derivative transactions with or sell structured products
to users that do not have properly documented risk management policies that
include, among other things, risk limits for various risk exposures. Furthermore,
structured products should be sold only to those users which follow prudent
accounting and disclosure norms, that provide for, among other things, marking
the derivative exposures to market. An increasing number of corporate entities
in India are adopting such norms.
Before undertaking a derivative
transaction with or selling a structured derivative product to a user, a market-maker
a) document how the pricing
has been done and how periodic valuations will be done. In the case of structured
products, this document should contain a dissection of the product into
its generic components to demonstrate its permissibility, on the one hand,
and to explain its price and periodic valuation principles, on the other.
This document should be shared with the user concerned.
b) analyse the expected impact
of the proposed derivatives transaction on the user;
c) ascertain whether a users
has the appropriate authority to enter into derivative transactions and
whether there are any limitations on the use of specific types of derivatives
in terms of the former’s board memorandum/policy, level at which derivative
transactions are approved, the involvement of senior management in decision-making
and monitoring derivatives activity undertaken by it,,
d) identify whether the
proposed transaction is consistent with the user’s policies and procedures
with respect to derivatives transactions, as they are known to the market-maker,
e) ensure that the terms
of the contract are clear and assess whether the user is capable of understanding
the terms of the contract and of fulfilling its obligations under the contract,
f) inform the customer of its
opinion, where the market-maker considers that a proposed derivatives transaction
is inappropriate for a customer. If the customer nonetheless wishes to proceed,
the market-maker should document its analysis and its discussions with the
customer in its files to lessen the chances of litigation in case the transaction
proves unprofitable to the customer. The approval for such transactions
should be escalated to next higher level of authority at the market-maker
as also for the user,
g) ensure the terms of the
contract are properly documented, disclosing the inherent risks in the proposed
transaction to the customer in the form of a Risk Disclosure Statement which
should include a detailed scenario analysis (both positive and negative)
and payouts in quantitative terms under different combination of
underlying market variables such as interest rates and currency rates, etc.,
assumptions made for the scenario analysis and obtaining a written acknowledgement
from the counterparty for having read and understood the Risk Disclosure
h) guard against the possibility
of misunderstandings all significant communications between the market-maker
and user should be in writing or recorded in meeting notes.
i) ensure to undertake transactions
at prevailing market rates and to avoid transactions that could result in
acceleration/deferment of gains or losses,
j) should establish internal
procedures for handling customer disputes and complaints. They should be
investigated thoroughly and handled fairly and promptly. Senior management
and the Compliance Department/Officer should be informed of all customer
disputes and complaints at a regular interval.
It may also be noted that in
cases where a market-maker is dealing with a user directly or through another
market-maker with the latter as an intermediary, it must still ensure a ‘Customer
Appropriateness and Suitability’ review of the intermediary market-maker as
also the end user.
The forward contracts are in use
for long time and are well understood by the market participants. Nevertheless,
even for plain forward contracts, it is advisable that banks, in their own interest,
may explain to the customer, the risk implications of the product.
Market participants are advised
to give top priority to ensure that the documentation requirements in respect
of derivative contracts are complete in all respects. The following instructions
in this regard may, therefore, be strictly adhered to:
(i) For the sake of uniformity
and standardisation in respect of all derivative products, participants
may use ISDA documentation, with suitable modifications. Counterparties
are free to modify the ISDA Master Agreement by inserting suitable clauses
in the schedule to the ISDA Master to reflect the terms that the counterparties
may agree to, including the manner of settlement of transactions and choice
of governing law of the Agreement.
(ii) It may be mentioned that
besides the ISDA Master Agreement, participants should obtain specific confirmation
for each transaction which should detail the terms of the contract such
as gross amount, rate, value date, etc. duly signed by the authorised signatories.
(iii) It is also preferable
to make a mention of the Master Agreement in the individual transaction
(iv) Participants should further
evaluate whether the counterparty has the legal capacity, power and authority
to enter into derivative transactions.
(v) Participants must ensure
that ISDA Master Agreement is signed with the counterparty prior to undertaking
any derivatives business with them.
(vi) Participants shall obtain
documentation regarding customer suitability, appropriateness etc. as specified
8.5 The identification of risk
Market-makers should identify the
various types of risk to which they are exposed in their derivatives activities.
The main types of risk are:
. credit risk
. market risk
. liquidity risk
. operational risk
. legal risk
The risks generally associated
with derivatives are enunciated in Appendix B.
8.6 Risk measurement
Accurate measurement of derivative-related
risks is necessary for proper monitoring and control. All significant risks
should be measured and integrated into a entity-wide risk management system.
The risk of loss can be most directly
quantified in relation to market risk and credit risk (though
other risks may have an equally or even greater adverse impact on earnings or
capital if not properly controlled). These two types of risks are clearly related
since the extent to which a derivatives contract is 'in the money' as a result
of market price movements will determine the degree of credit risk. This illustrates
the need for an integrated approach to the risk management of derivatives. The
methods used to measure market and credit risk should be related to:
a) the nature, scale and
complexity of the derivatives operation;
b) the capability of the
data collection systems; and
c) the ability of management
to understand the nature, limitations and meaning of the results produced
by the measurement system.
The measurement process starts
with marking to market of risk positions. This is necessary to establish the
current value of risk positions and to recognize profits and losses in
the books of account. It is essential that the revaluation process is carried
out by an independent risk control unit or by back office staff who are independent
of the risk-takers in the front office, and that the pricing factors used for
revaluation are obtained from a source which is independently verifiable.
Measuring market risk
The risk measurement system should
assess the probability of future loss in derivative positions. In order
to achieve this objective, it is necessary to estimate:
a) the sensitivity of the
instruments in the portfolio to changes in the market factors which affect
their value (e.g. interest rates, exchange rates and volatilities); and
b) the tendency of the relevant
market factors to change based on past volatilities and correlations.
The assumptions and variables used
in the risk management method should be fully documented and reviewed regularly
by the senior management, the independent risk management unit and internal
Regardless of the measurement system
and assumptions used to calculate risk on a day-to-day basis, entities should
conduct regular stress tests to evaluate the exposure under worst-case market
scenarios (i.e. those which are possible but not probable). Stress
tests need to cover a range of factors that could either generate extraordinary
losses or make the control of risk very difficult. Stress scenarios may take
into account such factors as the largest historical losses actually suffered
by the entity and evaluation of the current portfolio on the basis of extreme
assumptions about movements in interest rates or other market factors or in
market liquidity. The results of the stress testing should be reviewed regularly
by senior management and should be reflected in the policies and limits which
are approved by the board of directors and senior management.
The measurement of the market risk
in options involves special considerations because of their non-linear price
characteristics. This means that the price of an option does not necessarily
move in a proportionate relationship with that of the underlying instrument,
principally because of gamma and volatility risk. Measurement of risk exposure
of an options portfolio may therefore require the use of simulation techniques
to calculate, for example, changes in the value of the options portfolio for
various combinations of changes in the prices of the underlying instruments
and changes in volatility. The risk exposure would be calculated from that combination
of price and volatility change that produced the largest loss in the portfolio.
Other more elaborate simulation techniques may be used.
Measuring credit risk
The credit risks of derivatives
products have two components: pre-settlement risk and settlement risk. They
should be monitored and managed separately.
Pre-settlement risk is the risk
of loss due to a counterparty defaulting on a contract during the life of a
Settlement risk arises where securities
or cash are exchanged and the loss can amount to the full value of the amounts
to be exchanged. In general, the time-frame for this risk is quite short and
arises only where there is no delivery against payment.
8.7 Risk Limits
Risk limits serve as a means to
control exposures to the various risks associated with derivative activities.
Limits should be integrated across all activities and measured against aggregate
(e.g., individual and geographical) risks. Limits should be compatible with
the nature of the entity’s strategies, risk measurement systems, and the board’s
risk tolerance. To ensure consistency between limits and business strategies,
the board should annually approve limits as part of the overall budget process.
The system of limits should include procedures for the reporting and approval
of exceptions to limits. It is essential that limits should be rigorously enforced
and that significant and persistent breaches of limits should be reported to
senior management and fully investigated.
Market risk limits
Market risk limits should be established
at different levels of the entity,, i.e. the entity as a whole, the various
risk-taking units, trading desk heads and individual traders. It may also be
appropriate to supplement these with limits for particular products. In determining
how market risk limits are established and allocated, management should take
into account factors such as the following:
a) past performance of the
b) experience and expertise
of the traders;
c) level of sophistication
of the pricing, valuation and measurement systems;
d) the quality of internal
e) the projected level of
trading activity having regard to the liquidity of particular products and
f) the ability of the operations
systems to settle the resultant trades.
Some commonly used market risk
limits are: notional or volume limits, stop loss limits, gap or maturity limits,
options limits and value-at-risk limits. These are described in Appendix C.
The selection of limits should have regard to the nature, size and complexity
of the derivatives operation and to the type of risk measurement system. In
general, the overall amount of market risk being run by the entity is best controlled
by value-at risk limits. These provide senior management with an easily understood
way of monitoring and controlling the amount of capital and earnings which the
entity is putting at risk through its trading activities.
Stop loss limits may be useful
for triggering specific management action (e.g. to close out the position) when
a certain level of unrealized losses are reached. They do not however control
the potential size of loss which is inherent in the position or portfolio (i.e.
the Value at Risk) and which may be greater than the stop loss limit. They will
thus not necessarily prevent losses if the position cannot be exited (e.g. because
of market illiquidity).
It may be appropriate to set limits
on particular products or maturities (as well as on portfolios) in order to
reduce market and liquidity risk which would arise from concentrations in these.
Similarly, risks associated with options can be controlled by concentration
limits based on strike price and expiration date. This reduces the potential
impact on earnings and cash flow of a large amount of options being exercised
at the same time.
Banks should establish both pre-settlement
credit limits and settlement credit limits. The former should be based on the
credit-worthiness of the counterparty in much the same way as for traditional
credit lines. The size of the limits should take into account the sophistication
of the risk measurement system: if notional amounts are used (which is not
recommended), the limits should be correspondingly more conservative.
It is important that entities should
establish separate limits for settlement risk. The amount of exposure due to
settlement risk often exceeds the credit exposure arising from pre-settlement
risk because settlement of derivatives transactions may involve the exchange
of the total value of the instrument or principal cash flow. Settlement limits
should have regard to the efficiency and reliability of the relevant settlement
systems, the period for which the exposure will be outstanding, the credit quality
of the counterparty and the entity’s own capital adequacy.
Entities should have efficient
systems in place to aggregate its exposure to a counterparty across fund based
and non fund based exposures, including derivatives. These aggregate exposures
should be within the single counterparty exposure limits set by the management
or regulator, whichever is less.
The cash flow/funding liquidity
risk in derivatives can be dealt with by incorporating derivatives into
the entity’s overall liquidity policy and, in particular, by including derivatives
within the structure of the maturity mismatch limits. A particular issue is
the extent to which entities take account of the right which may have been granted
to counterparties to terminate a derivatives contract under certain specified
circumstances, thus triggering an unexpected need for funds.
It is necessary for entities to
take into account the funding requirements which may arise because of the need
to make margin payments in respect of exchange-traded derivatives. The entity
should have the ability to distinguish between margin calls which are being
made on behalf of clients (and monitor the resultant credit risk on the user-clients)
and those which arise from proprietary trades.
As noted earlier, the market
or product liquidity risk that arises from the possibility that the entity
will not be able to exit derivatives positions at a reasonable cost,
can be mitigated by setting limits on concentrations in particular markets,
exchanges, products and maturities.
8.8 Management Information Systems
The frequency and composition of
board and management reporting should depend upon the nature and significance
of derivative activities. Where applicable, board and management reports should
consolidate information across functional and geographic divisions. Board and
management reporting should be tailored to the intended audience, providing
summary information to senior management and the board and more detailed information
to line management.
8.9 Independent risk control
There should be a mechanism within
each entity for independently monitoring and controlling the various risks in
derivatives. The inter-relationship between the different types of risks needs
to be taken into account.
Entities which are market-makers
in derivatives should maintain a unit which is responsible for monitoring and
controlling the risks in derivatives. This unit should report directly to the
board (or ALCO) or to senior management who are not directly responsible for
trading activities. Where the size of the entity or its involvement in derivatives
activities does not justify a separate unit dedicated to derivative activities,
the function may be carried out by support personnel in the back office (or
in a 'middle office') provided that such personnel have the necessary independence,
expertise, resources and support from senior management to do the job effectively.
Whatever form the risk control
function takes, it is essential that it is distanced from the control and influence
of the trading function.
The minimum risk control functions
which should be performed include the following:
a) the monitoring of market
risk exposures against limits and the reporting of exceptions to middle
b) the marking-to-market
of risk exposures and reconciliation of risk positions and profit/loss between
the front and back offices;
c) the preparation of management
reports, including daily profit/loss results and gross and net risk positions;
d) the monitoring of credit
exposures to individual counterparties against limits and the reporting
of exceptions to middle office.
The risk management system and
the effectiveness and independence of the risk control unit should themselves
be subject to regular review by internal audit.
8.10 Operational controls
Operational risk arises as a result
of inadequate internal controls, human error or management failure. This risk
in derivatives activities is particularly important, because of the complexity
and rapidly evolving nature of some of the products. The nature of the controls
in place to manage operational risk must be commensurate with the scale and
complexity of the derivatives activity being undertaken. As noted earlier, volume
limits may be used to ensure that the number of transactions being undertaken
does not outstrip the capacity of the support systems to handle them.
Segregation of duties
Segregation of duties is necessary
to prevent unauthorized and fraudulent practices. This has a number of detailed
aspects but the fundamental principle is that there should be clear separation,
both functionally and physically, between the front office which is responsible
for the conduct of trading operations and the back office which is responsible
for processing the resultant trades.
A basic and essential safeguard
against abuse of trust by an individual is to insist that all staff should take
a minimum continuos period of annual leave (say 2 weeks) each year. This makes
it more difficult to conceal frauds in the absence of the individual concerned.
Policies and procedures
Policies and procedures should
be established and documented to cover the internal controls which apply at
various stages in the work flow of processing and monitoring trades. Apart from
segregation of duties, these include:
. trade entry and transaction
. confirmation of trades
. settlement and disbursement
. exception reports
. accounting treatment
A checklist of some of the key
controls under these headings is given in Appendix D.
Plans should be in place to provide
contingency systems and operations support in the case of a natural disaster
or systems failure. These should include emergency back-up for dealing functions
as well as critical support functions. Contingency plans should be reviewed
and tested on a regular basis.
9. Internal audit
Internal audit is an important
part of the internal control process. Audit should be conducted by qualified
professionals, who are independent of the business line being audited. Audit
should be supplementary and not be a substitute for risk control function. The
scope of audit coverage should be commensurate with the level of risk and volume
Internal audit function should:
a) review the adequacy and
effectiveness of the overall risk management system, including compliance
with policies, procedures and limits;
b) review the adequacy and
test the effectiveness of the various operational controls (including segregation
of duties) and staff's compliance with the established policies and procedures;
c) investigate unusual occurrences
such as significant breaches of limits, unauthorized trades and unreconciled
valuation or accounting differences;
d) evaluate the reliability
and timeliness of information reported to senior management and the board
e) trace and verify information
provided on risk exposure reports to the underlying data sources;
f) be an appraisal of the
effectiveness and independence of the risk management process;
g) ensure that risk measurement
models, including algorithms, are properly validated; and
h) include an evaluation
of the adequacy of the derivative valuation process and ensure that it is
performed by parties independent of risk-taking activities. Auditors should
test derivative valuation reports for accuracy. For hedge transactions,
auditors should review the appropriateness of accounting.
i) evaluate the risk disclosure
statements issued to customers in terms of adherence to Customer Suitability
and Appropriateness Policy
In preparing internal audit reports,
major control weaknesses should be highlighted and a management action plan
to remedy the weaknesses should be agreed with a timetable. Management should
respond promptly to audit findings by investigating identified system and internal
control weaknesses and implementing corrective action. Thereafter, management
should periodically monitor newly implemented systems and controls to ensure
they are working appropriately. Failure of management to implement recommendations
within an agreed timeframe should be reported to the Audit Committee.
10. Prudential norms relating to
The prudential norms relating to
derivatives – minimum capital adequacy requirement, credit exposure norms, ALM
etc. will be as prescribed by RBI from time to time.
11. Prudential limits on derivatives
The gross PV 01 of all non-option
rupee derivative contracts (including rupee – foreign currency contracts) should
be within 0.25 per cent of the net worth of the bank as on the last balance
sheet date. The gross PV01 may be determined by aggregating net PV01 of different
benchmarks, ignoring the signs. The exposures which are counted towards open
forex position limits should not be reckoned for PV01 limit. The limit would
also exclude the PV 01 of derivatives which are hedges for balance sheet items,
provided these hedges meet the criteria of hedge effectiveness as laid down
in our circular IDMC.MSRD.4801 /06.01.03/2002-03 dated June 3, 2003.
12. Regulatory reporting and
balance sheet disclosures
The current regulatory reporting
and balance sheet disclosures as prescribed from time to time by RBI may continue
for present. The reporting requirement in alignment with the revised accounting
guidelines would be communicated later.
Forward Rate Agreement (FRA)
A Forward Rate Agreement is a financial
contract between two parties to exchange interest payments for a `notional principal’
amount on settlement date, for a specified period from start date to maturity
date. Accordingly, on the settlement date, cash payments based on contract (fixed)
and the settlement rate, are made by the parties to one another. The settlement
rate is the agreed bench-mark/ reference rate prevailing on the settlement date.
Interest Rate Swap (IRS)
An Interest Rate Swap is a financial
contract between two parties exchanging or swapping a stream of interest payments
for a `notional principal’ amount on multiple occasions during a specified period.
Such contracts generally involve exchange of a `fixed to floating’ or `floating
to floating’ rates of interest. Accordingly, on each payment date - that occurs
during the swap period - cash payments based on fixed/ floating and floating
rates, are made by the parties to one another.
Interest Rate Futures (IRF)
Interest Rate Future is a standardized,
exchange-traded contract with an actual or notional interest-bearing instrument(s)
as the underlying asset.
Foreign Exchange Forward
A foreign exchange forward is an
over-the-counter contract under which a purchaser agrees to buy from the seller,
and the seller agrees to sell to the purchaser, a specified amount of a specified
currency on a specified date in the future - beyond the spot settlement date
- at a known price denominated in another currency (known as the forward price)
that is specified at the time the contract is entered into.
A currency swap is an interest
rate swap where the two legs to the swap are denominated in different currencies.
Additionally the parties may agree to exchange the two currencies normally at
the prevailing spot exchange rate with an agreement to reverse the exchange
of currencies, at the same spot exchange rate, at a fixed date in the future,
generally at the maturity of the swap.
A currency option is a contract
where the purchaser of the option has the right but not the obligation to either
purchase (call option) or sell (put option) and the seller (or writer) of the
option agrees to sell (call option) or purchase (put option) an agreed amount
of a specified currency at a price agreed in advance and denominated in another
currency (known as the strike price) on a specified date (European option) or
by an agreed date (American option) in the future.
Interest Rate Caps and Floors
An interest rate cap is an interest
rate optionin which payments are made when the reference rateexceeds the strike
rate. Analogously, an interest rate floor is annterest rate optionin which payments
are made when the reference ratefalls below the strike rate.
Types of derivatives risks
1. Credit risk
Credit risk is the risk of loss
due to a counterparty's failure to perform on an obligation to the institution.
Credit risk in derivative products comes in two forms:
Pre-settlement risk is the
risk of loss due to a counterparty defaulting on a contract during the life
of a transaction. The level of exposure varies throughout the life of the contract
and the extent of losses will only be known at the time of default.
Settlement risk is the risk
of loss due to the counterparty's failure to perform on its obligation after
an institution has performed on its obligation under a contract on the settlement
date. Settlement risk frequently arises in international transactions because
of time zone differences. This risk is only present in transactions that do
not involve delivery versus payment and generally exists for a very short time
(less than 24 hours).
2. Market risk
Market risk is the risk of loss
due to adverse changes in the market value (the price) of an instrument or portfolio
of instruments. Such exposure occurs with respect to derivative instruments
when changes occur in market factors such as underlying interest rates, exchange
rates, equity prices, and commodity prices or in the volatility of these factors.
3. Liquidity risk
Liquidity risk is the risk of loss
due to failure of an institution to meet its funding requirements or to execute
a transaction at a reasonable price. Institutions involved in derivatives activity
face two types of liquidity risk : market liquidity risk and funding liquidity
Market liquidity risk is
the risk that an institution may not be able to exit or offset positions quickly,
and in sufficient quantities, at a reasonable price. This inability may be due
to inadequate market depth in certain products (e.g. exotic derivatives, long-dated
options), market disruption, or inability of the bank to access the market (e.g.
credit down-grading of the institution or of a major counterparty).
Funding liquidity risk is
the potential inability of the institution to meet funding requirements, because
of cash flow mismatches, at a reasonable cost. Such funding requirements may
arise from cash flow mismatches in swap books, exercise of options, and the
implementation of dynamic hedging strategies.
4. Operational risk
Operational risk is the risk of
loss occurring as a result of inadequate systems and control, deficiencies in
information systems, human error, or management failure. Derivatives activities
can pose challenging operational risk issues because of the complexity of certain
products and their continual evolution.
5. Legal risk
Legal risk is the risk of loss
arising from contracts which are not legally enforceable (e.g. the counterparty
does not have the power or authority to enter into a particular type of derivatives
transaction) or documented correctly.
6. Regulatory risk
Regulatory risk is the risk of
loss arising from failure to comply with regulatory or legal requirements.
7. Reputation risk
Reputation risk is the risk of
loss arising from adverse public opinion and damage to reputation.
Commonly used market risk limits
1. Notional or volume limits
Limits based on the notional amount
of derivatives contracts are the most basic and simplest form of limits for
controlling the risks of derivatives transactions. They are useful in limiting
transaction volume, and liquidity and settlement risks. However, these limits
cannot take account of price sensitivity and volatility and say nothing about
the actual level of risk (in capital or earnings terms) faced by the institution.
Derivatives participants should not therefore use these limits as a stand-alone
tool to control market risk.
2. Stop loss limits
These limits are established to
avoid unrealized loss in a position from exceeding a specified level. When these
limits are reached, the position will either be liquidated or hedged. Typical
stop loss limits include those relating to accumulated unrealized losses for
a day, a week or a month.
Some institutions also establish
management action trigger (MAT) limits in addition to stop loss limits. These
are for early warning purposes. For example, management may establish a MAT
limit at 75 percent of the stop loss limit. When the unrealized loss reaches
75 percent of the stop loss limit, management will be alerted of the position
and may trigger certain management actions, such as close monitoring of the
position, reducing or early closing out the position before it reaches the stop
The above loss triggers complement
other limits, but they are generally not sufficient by themselves. They are
not anticipatory; they are based on unrealized losses to date and do not measure
the potential earnings at risk based on market characteristics. They will not
prevent losses larger than the stop loss limits if it becomes impossible to
close out positions, e.g. because of market illiquidity.
3. Gap or maturity band limits
These limits are designed to control
loss exposure by controlling the volume or amount of the derivatives that mature
or are repriced in a given time period. For example, management can establish
gap limits for each maturity band of 3 months, 6 months, 9 months, one year,
etc. to avoid maturities concentrating in certain maturity bands. Such limits
can be used to reduce the volatility of derivatives revenue by staggering the
maturity and/or repricing and thereby smoothing the effect of changes in market
factors affecting price. Maturity limits can also be useful for liquidity risk
control and the repricing limits can be used for interest rate management.
Similar to notional and stop loss
limits, gap limits can be useful to supplement other limits, but are not sufficient
to be used in isolation as they do not provide a reasonable proxy for the market
risk exposure which a particular derivatives position may present to the institution.
4. Value-at-risk limits
These limits are designed to restrict
the amount of potential loss from certain types of derivatives products or the
whole trading book to levels (or percentages of capital or earnings) approved
by the board and senior management. To monitor compliance with the limits, management
calculates the current market value of positions and then uses statistical modeling
techniques to assess the probable loss (within a certain level of confidence)
given historical changes in market factors. There are three main approaches
to calculating value-at-risk : the correlation method, also known as the variance/
covariance matrix method; historical simulation and Monte Carlo simulation.
The advantage of value-at-risk
(VAR) limits is that they are related directly to the amount of capital or earnings
which are at risk. Among other things, they are therefore more readily understood
by the board and senior management. The level of VAR limits should reflect the
maximum exposures authorized by the board and senior management, the quality
and sophistication of the risk measurement systems and the performance of the
models used in assessing potential loss by comparing projected and actual results.
One drawback in the use of such models is that they are only as good as the
assumptions on which they are based (and the quality of the data which has been
used to calculate the various volatilities, correlations and sensitivities).
5. Options limits
These are specifically designed
to control the risks of options. Options limits should include Delta, Gamma,
Vega, Theta and Rho limits.
Delta is a measure of the
amount an options price would be expected to change for a unit change in the
price of the underlying instrument.
Gamma is a measure of the
amount delta would be expected to change in response to a unit change in the
price of the underlying instrument.
Vega is a measure of the
amount an option's price would be expected to change in response to a unit change
in the price volatility of the underlying instrument.
Theta is a measure of the
amount an option's price would be expected to change in response to changes
in the options time to expiration.
Rho is a measure of the
amount an option's price would be expected to change in response to changes
in interest rates.
Recommendations on operational controls
A. Segregation of Duties
There should be clear segregation,
functionally and physically, between the front office and back office.
There should be a middle office
independent of the trading room and it should be responsible, inter alia,
for undertaking various risk related monitoring, product approval, validation
of valuation models used , stress testing, back testing of the risk limits etc.
and also for regulatory reporting and compliance.
B. Trade Entry and Transaction
Management should ensure that procedures
are in place to provide a clear and fully documented audit trail of derivatives
All derivatives transactions should
be sequentially controlled to ensure that all deals are accounted for and to
provide an audit trail for deals effected.
Every transaction should be updated
(i.e. mark to market) in the calculation of market and credit risk limits.
Deals should be transacted at market
rates. The use of off-market rates as a base for the renewal of maturing derivatives
contracts should be on an exception basis and subject to the following conditions:
it is permitted in accordance with stated policies
and procedures of the institution and the justification and approval of such
transactions are documented;
the customer had specifically requested it;
C. Confirmation Procedures
The method of confirmation used
should provide a documentation trail that supports the institution's position
in the event of disputes.
D. Settlement and Disbursement
Specific procedures should be established
for the initiation of, and authority for, fund transfer.
Daily independent reconciliation
of transferred funds with nostro accounts and general ledger is an essential
control for detection of errors or misapplications of funds.
E. Reconciliation Procedures
All pertinent data, reports, and
systems should be reconciled on a timely basis to ensure that the institutions
official books agree with dealers records. At the minimum, the following reports
should be reconciled:
Unusual items and any items outstanding
for an inordinately long period of time should be investigated.
There should be adequate audit
trail to ensure that balances and accounts have been properly reconciled. Reconciliation
records and documentation should be maintained and independently reviewed. Such
record should be kept for an appropriate period of time prior to their destruction.
F. Revaluation Procedures
The revaluation procedures should
cover the full range of derivatives instruments included in the institutions
Revaluation rates should be obtained
from or verified by a source (or different sources in the case of OTC derivatives)
independent of the dealers, representative of the market levels and properly
approved. Revaluation calculations should be independently checked.
Revaluation rates and calculations
should be fully documented.
G. Exceptions Reports
To track errors, frauds and losses,
the back office should generate management reports that reflect current status
and trends for the following items:
Outstanding general ledger reconciling items.
After-hours and off-premises trading.
Aging of unconfirmed trades.
Suspense items payable/receivable.
Details of deals resulting in exceptional
profits and losses
The management information system/reporting
system of the institution should enable the detection of unusual patterns of
activity (i.e. increase in volume, new trading counterparties, etc.) for review