“The Treasury market anticipates a seismic shift as the SEC introduces new rules, stirring up a cocktail of excitement and uncertainty among traders and investors.”
U.S. regulators are expected to soon finalize a major rule aimed at regulating debt-fueled bets by hedge funds and strengthening financial stability. The rule, proposed by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in September 2020, would require more trading in the $25 trillion Treasuries market, including the repo market, to be centrally cleared. However, industry participants are concerned about the potential impact of this rule, including increased costs and the possibility of traders withdrawing from the market. The details of the rule, such as the timeline for implementation, are still unclear.
The rule comes as banks have pulled back as intermediaries from the Treasury market in recent years, leading to some of the issues that regulators are trying to address. The industry is worried that if central clearing is not implemented correctly, it could undermine the goal of financial stability. The rule could also reshape the industry, with some banks reducing their positions in certain market segments while custody banks have increased their presence.
The rule would also affect other market participants, including independent brokers. Hedge funds that heavily rely on borrowing to take advantage of small differences in Treasury prices may find their strategies no longer profitable. The rule is expected to be finalized in the coming weeks, potentially before a Treasury market conference on November 16.
There is broad consensus on the need for reform in the Treasury market, including the benefits of central clearing. However, the industry is concerned about the implementation costs and compliance costs associated with the rule. The industry has requested a three to five-year timeline to implement the rule, but the SEC may only give two years.
Overall, while there is anticipation for the finalization of the rule, industry participants are still uncertain about its full impact and the associated costs. The Treasury market plays a crucial role in global finance, and regulators are aiming to address the vulnerabilities and risks within the market to ensure its stability.