Group schedules series of webinars to begin preparation for wind-down of LIBOR

A series of webinars focusing on the shift away by year’s end from the long-used LIBOR reference rate to one or more new vehicles will get underway March 22, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York-sponsored committee said Thursday.

The New York Fed’s Alternative Reference Rates Committee (ARRC), which is sponsoring the event, said the first webinar in the series – “The SOFR Symposium: The Final Year” – will focus on progress in transitioning away from LIBOR (the London Interbank Offered Rate) and on areas such as the loan market where progress in the transition has been slower.

The first webinar, which runs for two hours and gets underway at 1:30 p.m. ET on March 22, is also scheduled to consider such topics as LIBOR “endgame” announcements, latest SOFR developments, and 2021 priorities.

LIBOR is widely used by financial institutions as a reference rate for adjustable-rate mortgages and other loan contracts. It is being phased out as a reference rate because the transactions it is based on don’t occur as often as they did in prior years. Regulators have said that production of LIBOR cannot be guaranteed after the end of 2021.

The ARRC is the sponsor of an alternative rate to LIBOR, the Secured Overnight Financing Rate (SOFR). That alternative rate is based on transactions in the Treasury repurchase market. It is seen as preferable to U.S. dollars (USD) LIBOR since it is based on data from observable transactions rather than on estimated borrowing rates (sometimes the case with LIBOR).

The first webinar will feature keynote remarks by Randal K. Quarles, the Federal Reserve Board’s vice chair for supervision, who has been somewhat outspoken on the need to move away from LIBOR and toward other reference rates (including SOFR).

The event will also feature a moderated discussion by chairs of the U.S. and UK working groups, ARRC Chair Tom Wipf and Sterling Working Group on Risk-Free Reference Rates Chair Tushar Morzaria.

The webinar is open to the public and press, but capacity is limited, according to the ARRC. Viewing is on a first-come, first-serve basis, the group said; for those who register after capacity has been reached, a recording will be available shortly afterward on the ARRC’s website.

ARRC Announces “The SOFR Symposium: The Final Year”