Fundamental Review of the Trading Book (FRTB)

Fundamental Review of the Trading Book

What you need to know to revise market risk framework

An alternative trading book

The current market risk capital framework has insufficient risk sensitivity, and the benefits of diversification and hedging need to be emphasized through three main areas:

  • The updated standards will force clarification between banking and trading book treatment
  • Firms will be required to adopt a more sensitive standardized approach that accurately links the capital requirements with the level of risk
  • The compliance process for obtaining approval to use the internal model approach (IMA) will become more sophisticated and challenging.

The new Fundamental Review of the Trading Book (FRTB) regulation seeks to bring greater consistency in capital treatment and less variation between banks, specific markets, and products. The scope of the regulation cuts across Rates, Credit, FX, Equity, and Commodity asset classes.

FRTB Timelines

When the FRTB regulation is implemented at the end of 2019, the shortcomings of Basel 2.5 revisions from 2009 will be addressed and accounted for. However, firms implementing IMA must run their models in advance for a year and receive approval from regulators. Therefore, from an FRTB implementation perspective, mid-2018 becomes a key deadline.

In November 2016, the European Commission released proposals for CRR2, which implements the FRTB regulation in Europe. The proposal includes a number of amendments to the original BCBS requirements and in particular is likely to result in a delayed implementation vs. BCBS deadlines. It proposes an initial three-year phase-in period during which a haircut will be applied to the minimum capital requirements. Though this buys time for firms, it does increase the risk that the regulation will not be implemented uniformly globally.

Non-Modellable Risk Factors

Once banks have passed the P&L attribution and backtesting requirements associated with using IMA, they need to identify whether their risk factors are either modellable or non-modellable (NMRFs).

If a risk factor does not have at least 24 “real” prices with no more than 1-month between each observation it is classified as Modellable. “Real” prices include executed trades and committed quotes.

For OTC markets with little transparency the process of collecting “real” price data becomes a significant challenge. 

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