LIBOR is going away. It was a distant pronouncement in 2017, and many thought it wouldn’t happen, or would get delayed. But it’s coming. Soon. December 31, 2021 may still seem a long way off, but there’s a lot to do between now and then. Market participants may be forgiven for concentrating on the global pandemic the last few months, but regulators in many arenas have stepped up their efforts in the past month to get the word out on LIBOR transition and get everyone moving forward on the right track.
Following its Summer Series on LIBOR transition, on August 7, 2020, the Alternative Reference Rates Committee of the New York Fed published the SOFR Starter Kit, a set of factsheets to inform the public about the transition away from USD LIBOR to SOFR. The SOFR Starter Kit is intended to ensure market readiness for the transition and help participants in markets using USD LIBOR to quickly familiarize themselves with the background information of, and main issues related to, the transition. The SOFR Starter Kit has three parts:
- Part I (History and Background) summarizes the background on USD LIBOR, the history of the ARRC, and its selection of SOFR.
- Part II (Key Facts about SOFR) explains how SOFR works, facts by numbers about SOFR, as well as common questions and misconceptions about the SOFR.
- Part III (SOFR Next Steps) lays out numerous tools that the ARRC has made available to facilitate a smooth transition from USD LIBOR to SOFR, including a set of best practices, the User’s Guide to SOFR along with several ARRC-recommended conventions, the recommended fallback language for voluntary use in USD LIBOR-linked contracts, and other helpful tools from the ARRC.
With the end of LIBOR rapidly approaching, it becomes urgent for market participants to focus on the transition away from LIBOR. The SOFR Starter Kit is a helpful and digestible summary of key developments and issues on the LIBOR transition so far. For people who have not followed the subject, reading the SOFR Starter Kit may help bring them up to date. It goes without saying that the SOFR Starter Kit is not intended to be a comprehensive and thorough analysis of all important issues related the LIBOR transition, and it is not a substitute for staying alert for future developments and seeking sound advice from counsel in making customized plans for a smooth transition from LIBOR.