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Derivatives and systemic risk: netting, collateral, and closeout


  • Robert R. Bliss
  • George G. Kaufman


In the U.S., as in most countries with well-developed securities markets, derivative securities enjoy special protections under insolvency resolution laws. Most creditors are “stayed” from enforcing their rights while a firm is in bankruptcy. However, many derivatives contracts are exempt from these stays. Furthermore, derivatives enjoy netting and close-out, or termination, privileges which are not always available to most other creditors. The primary argument used to motivate passage of legislation granting these extraordinary protections is that derivatives markets are a major source of systemic risk in financial markets and that netting and close- out reduce this risk. ; To date, these assertions have not been subjected to rigorous economic scrutiny. This paper critically reexamines this hypothesis. These relationships are more complex than often perceived. We conclude that it is not clear whether netting, collateral, and/or close-out lead to reduced systemic risk, once the impact of these protections on the size and structure of the derivatives market has been taken into account.

Suggested Citation

  • Robert R. Bliss & George G. Kaufman, 2005. "Derivatives and systemic risk: netting, collateral, and closeout," Working Paper Series WP-05-03, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedhwp:wp-05-03

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. William R. Emmons, 1995. "Interbank netting agreement and the distribution of bank default risk," Working Papers 1995-016, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
    2. Claudio E. V. Borio, 2004. "Market distress and vanishing liquidity: anatomy and policy options," BIS Working Papers 158, Bank for International Settlements.
    3. George G. Kaufman, 2003. "A proposal for efficiently resolving out-of-the-money swap positions at large insolvent banks," Working Paper Series WP-03-01, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
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    Cited by:

    1. John P Jackson & Mark J Manning, 2007. "Comparing the pre-settlement risk implications of alternative clearing arrangements," Bank of England working papers 321, Bank of England.

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    Derivative securities ; Financial markets;

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