Demystifying U S. Repo and Securities Lending Markets

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However, since the parties agree to both sides of the transaction (the repo and reverse repo), these transactions are considered as equivalent to collateralized loans and are generally reported as loans on the entities’ financial statements. The Office of Financial Research released a working paper today intended to serve as a reference guide for the U.S. repurchase agreement, or repo, and securities lending markets. The first such comprehensive reference to these securities financing transactions, it is critically needed. Once the real interest rate has been calculated, a comparison of the rate against those pertaining to other types of funding will reveal whether or not the repurchase agreement is a good deal. Generally, as a secured form of lending, repurchase agreements offer better terms than money market cash lending agreements.

She begins by looking at the difference between sustainability and corporate social responsibility, two terms that can be easily confused. The Brookings Institution is a nonprofit organization based in Washington, D.C. Our mission is to conduct in-depth, nonpartisan research to improve policy and governance at local, national, and global levels. ICMA is at the forefront of the financial industry’s contribution to the development of sustainable finance and in the dialogue with the regulatory and policy community.

But it doesn’t work like your traditional bank loan where a bank sends you money and you repay them over time with interest. The paper also provides an overview of existing data sources, highlighting specific securities lending vs repo shortcomings related to data standards and data quality, and steps regulators are taking to improve data coverage. In the first video of this two-part video series, Elisa introduces us to sustainability.

Long-term bond purchases are bets that interest rates will not rise substantially during the life of the bond. Over a longer duration, it is more likely that a tail event will occur, driving interest rates above forecasted ranges. If there is a period of high inflation, the interest paid on bonds preceding that period will be worth less in real terms. It reaches an agreement with an investor, who offers to give the bank the money it needs so long as it pays it back quickly with interest and, in the meantime, gives it some collateral for peace of mind.

  1. These terms are also sometimes exchanged for “near leg” and “far leg,” respectively.
  2. In the dealer-to-customer repo market, however, the netting potential is limited as transactions are more often ‘one way’, and small institutions are likely to find central clearing costly given the need to pay clearing fees or margins.
  3. Not engaging however will leave dealers ability to engage in market making which also will increase the applied bid-ask spread.
  4. Suppose an investor believes that the price of a stock will fall from its current price of $100 to $75 in the near future.
  5. But not until they give the lender collateral in the form of shares or bonds.

A lot of the lost pricing power is ultimately pushed forward to the end customer through higher prices. The question is relevant and more refined that some of the political and regulatory responses we all have been witnessing during and after the financial crisis, especially when it comes to the future supervision of the (shadow) banking sector. Nevertheless, there is reason for concern or at least deeper thinking.

Securities-Based Lending: Advantages, Risks and Examples

In fact, counterparty credit risk is the primary risk involved in repos. According to current regulations, borrowers should provide at least 100 percent of the security’s value as collateral. The minimum initial collateral on securities loans is at least 102 percent of the market value of the lent securities plus, for debt securities, any accrued interest. In addition, the fees and interest charged on a securities loan will often depend on how difficult it is to locate those securities desired for borrow. The more scarce the supply of available securities, the higher the cost.

The repo essentially functions as short-term, collateral-backed, interest-bearing loan. Both the repurchase and reverse repurchase portions of the contract are determined and agreed upon at the outset of the deal. For over 50 years ICMA and its members have worked together to promote the development of the international capital and securities markets, pioneering the rules, principles and recommendations which have laid the foundations for their successful operation.

The hedge fund sells $50M worth (market value at the time) of treasuries to the bank and receives $50M in cash. Eurosystem central banks also either make their APP holdings available for the so-called fails mitigation lending
programmes of international or domestic central securities depositories, or alternatively ensure that comparable
arrangements are in place in their jurisdiction. The lender sees the pledged securities as another layer of protection and thus offers a much lower interest rate for that protection. The borrower likes this scenario because the stock portfolio allows them to borrow at a lower rate while keeping the stocks invested. The investor also receives the loan quicker than they would have with a standard loan.

How the Fed Uses Repo Agreements

From the perspective of a reverse repo participant, the agreement can generate extra income on excess cash reserves as well. The repurchase agreement (repo or RP) and the reverse repo agreement (RRP) are two key tools used by many large financial institutions, banks, and some businesses. These short-term agreements provide temporary lending opportunities that help to fund ongoing operations. The Federal Reserve also uses the repo and RRP as a method to control the money supply. The Federal Reserve enters into repurchase agreements to regulate the money supply and bank reserves. Individuals normally use these agreements to finance the purchase of debt securities or other investments.

Securities loans tend to be small, while repos tend to be large, fixed-term, and plain vanilla. Securities lending is often used by risk-averse real-money investors, while repo is driven by market intermediaries who are leveraged risk-takers. Repurchase agreement (repo or RP) and reverse repo agreement (RRP) refer to the complementary sides of a transaction that involves the temporary purchase of assets with the agreement to sell them back at a slight premium in the future. For the original seller of the assets who agrees to buy them back in the future, the transaction is a repo.

In the case of bankruptcy, in most cases, repo investors can sell their collateral. This is another distinction between repo and collateralized loans; in the case of most collateralized loans, bankrupt investors would be subject to an automatic stay. Securities lending is generally facilitated between brokers or dealers and not directly by individual investors. To finalize the transaction, a securities lending agreement or loan agreement must be completed. This sets forth the terms of the loan including duration, interest rates, lender’s fees, and the nature of the collateral. The central bank can boost the overall money supply by buying Treasury bonds or other government debt instruments from commercial banks.


If the investor has miscalculated and the company’s shares end up increasing in price rather than decreasing, the investor will have to purchase the stock back at a higher price than the price at which they sold it and will incur a loss on this transaction. In these transactions, the lender is compensated in the form of agreed-upon fees and also has the security returned at the end of the transaction. This allows the lender to enhance its returns through the receipt of these fees. The borrower benefits through the possibility of drawing profits by shorting the securities.

How has the growing federal deficit contributed to strains in the repo market?

Hedge funds, insurance companies, and money market mutual funds may take advantage of repo agreements to receive a short-term infusion of cash. The Federal Reserve and other central banks also use repos to temporarily increase the supply of reserve balances in the banking system. Securities-based lending is separate and distinct from securities lending. Securities lending is the act of loaning securities to an investment company or bank.

However, some contracts are open and have no set maturity date, but the reverse transaction usually occurs within a year. Securities lending against cash collateral looks very much like a repo agreement. But not until they give the lender collateral in the form of shares or bonds. In exchange, they give the bank some sort of collateral (which can be cash, other stocks, or bonds).

While securities-based lending involves using securities as collateral for a loan, this kind of lending requires collateral in the form of cash or a letter of credit in exchange for the security in question. Instead, it takes place between investment brokers and/or dealers who complete an agreement that outlines the nature of the loan—the terms, duration, fees, and collateral. In this video, Richard explores the legal and market differences between the repo and securities lending markets. He also examines how repo involves a true sale of securities against cash, while securities lending is a unilateral transfer of title to the security against non-cash collateral. A repurchase agreement is technically not a loan because it involves transferring ownership of the underlying assets, albeit temporarily.

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