Credit Swap Panel’s New Rules Address Conflicts of Interest

January 12, 2016 by Sridhar Natarajan

A derivatives industry group adopted new rules to mitigate conflicts of interest on a panel of banks and asset managers that determines when traders are paid on debt insurance.

The International Swaps & Derivatives Association will begin requiring its so-called determinations committees to have written policies or procedures concerning the identity of decision makers, identification and management of potential conflicts of interest and record keeping as of next month, according to a statement.

ISDA created the regional committees in 2009 to make decisions for the $12 trillion credit derivatives market. The panel, which in recent years ruled on contracts linked to Greece, Argentina and Caesars Entertainment Corp., has come under scrutiny because the firms making the decisions are also the biggest traders of the contracts.

The changes are part of an “ongoing process of review” to improve transparency, ISDA said in the statement.

Members of the committee include firms such as JPMorgan Chase & Co., Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Pacific Investment Management Co. Credit swaps protect banks, hedge funds and other investors against losses on a company or country’s debt or allow them to speculate on its creditworthiness.