The countdown to the end of LIBOR, the once venerable financial benchmark, was confirmed today, as the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) declared that most editions of the benchmark will cease at the end of the year, with only parts of U.S. dollar LIBOR clinging on until mid-2023.
The FCA announced that the British pound, Euro, Swiss franc and Japanese Yen editions of LIBOR will stop being published as of Dec. 31. The one- and two-month U.S. dollar versions of LIBOR will also cease at the end of this year, although the other U.S.-dollar LIBOR settings will continue until June 30, 2023.
“This is an important step towards the end of LIBOR, and the Bank of England and FCA urge market participants to continue to take the necessary action to ensure they are ready,” the regulator said in a statement.
The FCA noted that the banks that currently contribute to LIBOR have pledged to continue providing data up until the final publication, so it doesn’t expect that any of the benchmark settings will become unrepresentative before the final dates.
The Bank of England and the FCA said they’ve worked with regulators and industry firms around the world to ensure that robust alternatives to LIBOR are available, and that existing contracts that reference LIBOR can be transitioned onto these alternatives.
“Today’s announcements mark the final chapter in the process that began in 2017, to remove reliance on unsustainable LIBOR rates and build a more robust foundation for the financial system,” said the governor of the Bank of England, Andrew Bailey, in a statement.
“With limited time remaining, my message to firms is clear — act now and complete your transition by the end of 2021,” he added.
The FCA said that it is taking steps to minimize the disruption in contracts that will be difficult to transition to new benchmarks.
And, in the second quarter, the regulator will launch a consultation on using its proposed new powers to require continued publication of some LIBOR settings “on a ‘synthetic’ basis” for those contracts that will be tough to wean off of LIBOR.
Alongside the FCA’s announcement, the firm that now administers LIBOR, ICE Benchmark Administration Ltd. (IBA), published a statement confirming its intention to cease the publication of the benchmark on the FCA’s timeline.