Global securities regulators are increasingly concerned about debt and leverage, according to a new report from the International Organization of Securities Commissions (IOSCO) that sets out its policy priorities for the year ahead.
According to IOSCO’s report, the combination of a low-rate environment, which encourages borrowing, a decline in traditional bank lending and growing investor demand for yield has stoked an increase in market financing by investment funds and private equity firms.
“These developments may be contributing to the decline in overall credit quality of issuances and to the increase in collateralized loan obligations (CLOs),” the report said. “IOSCO has concerns about the potential conduct-related risks that may exist in these markets which could also have implications for market integrity in the event of an economic downturn.”
In the year ahead, IOSCO said that it plans to focus on the risks created by debt origination practices, intermediation in the corporate debt market and related conflicts of interest. To that end, it will report on conduct-related issues in the leveraged loan and CLO markets.
As for its other priorities in the year ahead, IOSCO said it plans to examine liquidity risk management and leverage in the asset management sector, along with an ongoing analysis of the ETF market.
A final report on regulating crypto asset trading platforms will be published by IOSCO in February. IOSCO will also publish a review examining investment funds’ exposures to crypto, which will cover issues of custody, valuation, liquidity, disclosure and transparency.
The group also plans to issue a consultation paper on proposed guidance for regulators when overseeing firms that are using AI and machine learning, with the aim of finalizing the guidance by the end of the year.
Additionally, IOSCO is producing an analysis of the growth of passive investing, and its impact on both equity markets and financial regulation. That report is expected to go to the IOSCO board in late 2020.
IOSCO is also examining possible conduct issues and conflicts of interest that may arise between index providers and asset managers. Again, it aims to deliver a report to IOSCO’s board later this year.
Finally, IOSCO said it’s planning to develop a toolkit of policy measures to address risks posed by online cross-border marketing and distribution to retail investors, including guidance on enforcement.