FI Analysis 14: Reference rates are changing

Reference rates are important since they are used in many financial contracts, and it is therefore crucial that they are fair, transparent and accurately reflect the underlying market.

Following the financial crisis in 2008 and the LIBOR scandal in 2012, the rules for reference rates were tightened. Despite stricter regulation, however, there are still problem areas through which reference rates can be manipulated. In order to come to grips with such problems, authorities in several countries and regions have taken initiatives to replace the existing reference rates with new transaction-based interest rates.

Sweden has not yet begun a transition from STIBOR, the Swedish reference rate, to an alternative reference rate. The framework for STIBOR allows the panel banks to apply some discretionary assessments. The transaction volumes for deposits and lending in SEK between banks are also very low due to long maturities. A transition from STIBOR to an alternative reference rate could take several years to implement even if Sweden is able to draw on the lessons learned in other countries.

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