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Financial Stability Paper No 29: An investigation into the procyclicality of risk-based initial margin models


  • Murphy, David

    (Bank of England)

  • Vasios, Michalis

    (Bank of England)

  • Vause, Nick

    (Bank of England)


The initial margin requirements for a portfolio of derivatives are typically calculated using a risk model. Common risk models are procyclical: margin requirements for the same portfolio are higher in times of market stress and lower in calm markets. This procyclicality can cause liquidity stress whereby parties posting margin have to find additional liquid assets, often at just the times when it is most difficult for them to do so. Hence regulation has recognised that, subject to being adequately risk sensitive, margin models should not be ‘overly’ procyclical. There is, however, no standard definition of procyclicality. This paper proposes two types of quantitative measure of procyclicality: one that examines margin variation across the cycle and one that focuses on short-term margin increases. It then studies, using historical and simulated data, various margin models with regard to both their risk sensitivity and the proposed procyclicality measures. It finds that models which pass common risk sensitivity tests can have very different levels of procyclicality. The paper recommends that CCPs and major dealers should disclose the procyclicality properties of their margin models, perhaps by reporting the proposed procyclicality measures. This would help derivatives users to anticipate potential margin calls and ensure they have adequate holdings of or access to liquid assets.

Suggested Citation

  • Murphy, David & Vasios, Michalis & Vause, Nick, 2014. "Financial Stability Paper No 29: An investigation into the procyclicality of risk-based initial margin models," Bank of England Financial Stability Papers 29, Bank of England.
  • Handle: RePEc:boe:finsta:0029

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Peter Christoffersen & Steven Heston & Kris Jacobs, 2009. "The Shape and Term Structure of the Index Option Smirk: Why Multifactor Stochastic Volatility Models Work So Well," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 55(12), pages 1914-1932, December.
    2. Markus K. Brunnermeier & Lasse Heje Pedersen, 2009. "Market Liquidity and Funding Liquidity," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 22(6), pages 2201-2238, June.
    3. Paul H. Kupiec, 1995. "Techniques for verifying the accuracy of risk measurement models," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 95-24, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (US).
    4. Daniel Heller & Nicholas Vause, 2012. "Collateral requirements for mandatory central clearing of over-the-counter derivatives," BIS Working Papers 373, Bank for International Settlements.
    5. Giovanni Barone‐Adesi & Kostas Giannopoulos & Les Vosper, 1999. "VaR without correlations for portfolios of derivative securities," Journal of Futures Markets, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 19(5), pages 583-602, August.
    6. Hamilton, James D., 1990. "Analysis of time series subject to changes in regime," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 45(1-2), pages 39-70.
    7. Mayhew, Stewart & Sarin, Atulya & Shastri, Kuldeep, 1995. " The Allocation of Informed Trading across Related Markets: An Analysis of the Impact of Changes in Equity-Option Margin Requirements," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 50(5), pages 1635-1653, December.
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    Cited by:

    1. Anderson, Nicola & Webber, Lewis & Noss, Joseph & Beale, Daniel & Crowley-Reidy, Liam, 2015. "Financial Stability Paper 34: The resilience of financial market liquidity," Bank of England Financial Stability Papers 34, Bank of England.
    2. Garratt, Rod & Zimmerman, Peter, 2015. "Does central clearing reduce counterparty risk in realistic financial networks?," Staff Reports 717, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
    3. Murphy, David & Vasios, Michalis & Vause, Nicholas, 2016. "A comparative analysis of tools to limit the procyclicality of initial margin requirements," Bank of England working papers 597, Bank of England.
    4. Baranova, Yuliya & Liu, Zijun & Noss, Joseph, 2016. "The role of collateral in supporting liquidity," Bank of England working papers 609, Bank of England.
    5. repec:spr:jeicoo:v:13:y:2018:i:1:d:10.1007_s11403-017-0208-1 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Florian Glaser & Sven Panz, 2016. "(Pro?)-cyclicality of collateral haircuts and systemic illiquidity," ESRB Working Paper Series 27, European Systemic Risk Board.
    7. Rahman, Arshadur, 2015. "Over-the-counter (OTC) derivatives, central clearing and financial stability," Bank of England Quarterly Bulletin, Bank of England, vol. 55(3), pages 283-294.
    8. Kazeem O. Salaam, 2015. "Procyclicality Effects on Bank Lending Decisions: A Case Study of the British Banking Sector," International Journal of Academic Research in Accounting, Finance and Management Sciences, Human Resource Management Academic Research Society, International Journal of Academic Research in Accounting, Finance and Management Sciences, vol. 5(2), pages 185-194, April.
    9. Edwin Budding & David Murphy, 2014. "Design Choices in Central Clearing: Issues Facing Small Advanced Economies," Reserve Bank of New Zealand Analytical Notes series AN2014/08, Reserve Bank of New Zealand.
    10. De Genaro, Alan, 2016. "Systematic multi-period stress scenarios with an application to CCP risk management," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 67(C), pages 119-134.
    11. repec:eee:ejores:v:273:y:2019:i:1:p:31-43 is not listed on IDEAS
    12. Froukelien Wendt, 2015. "Central Counterparties; Addressing their Too Important to Fail Nature," IMF Working Papers 15/21, International Monetary Fund.
    13. Dietrich Domanski & Leonardo Gambacorta & Cristina Picillo, 2015. "Central clearing: trends and current issues," BIS Quarterly Review, Bank for International Settlements, December.
    14. Garratt, Rodney, 2016. "Centralized netting in financial networks," University of California at Santa Barbara, Economics Working Paper Series qt79t1q6cg, Department of Economics, UC Santa Barbara.

    More about this item


    derivatives; financial regulation;

    JEL classification:

    • G15 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - International Financial Markets
    • G28 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Government Policy and Regulation

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