Bank of England announces liquidity measures to help ease pension fund issues

Bank of England Governor Andrew Bailey has said that central bank independence “is critically important.”Bloomberg | Bloomberg | Getty ImagesLONDON — The Bank of England on Monday announced further measures to ensure financial stability in the U.K., building on its intervention in the long-dated bond market.The Bank’s Financial Stability Committee on Sep. 28 announced a two-week emergency purchase program for long-dated U.K. government bonds — known as “gilts” — to restore order to the markets and protect liability driven investment (LDI) funds from imminent collapse.The central bank announced on Monday that it would introduce further measures to ensure an “orderly end” to its purchase scheme on Oct. 14, including increasing the size of its daily auctions to allow headroom for gilt purchases ahead of Friday’s deadline.”To date, the Bank has carried out 8 daily auctions, offering to buy up to £40 billion, and has made around £5 billion of bond purchases. The Bank is prepared to deploy this unused capacity to increase the maximum size of the remaining five auctions above the current level of up to £5 billion in each auction,” the Bank said in Monday’s announcement.The auction limit will be confirmed each morning at 9am, with today’s set at £10 billion.The Bank will also launch a Temporary Expanded Collateral Repo Facility (TECRF), which will allow banks to ease liquidity pressures on client funds embroiled in recent market volatility. Following last month’s unprecedented spike in gilt yields, LDIs — which hold substantial quantities of gilts and are owned predominantly by final salary pension schemes — were receiving margin calls from lenders.A margin call is a demand from brokers to increase equity in an account when its value falls below the broker’s required amount.The TECRF will enable banks to run what the Bank called “liquidity insurance operations,” which will run beyond Friday’s deadline and ease pressures on client LDI funds.”Under these operations, the Bank will accept collateral eligible under the Sterling Monetary Framework (SMF), including index linked gilts, and also a wider range of collateral than normally eligible under the SMF, such as corporate bond collateral,” the Bank said.Thirdly, the Bank said it would be ready to use its regular Indexed Long Term Repo operations each Tuesday — which allow market participants to borrow BoE cash reserves for six months in exchange for less liquid assets — to further ease liquidity pressures on LDI funds.”This permanent facility will provide additional liquidity to banks against SMF eligible collateral, including index linked gilts, and so support their lending to LDI counterparties,” the Bank said.”Liquidity is also available through the Bank’s new permanent Short Term Repo facility, launched last week, which offers an unlimited quantity of reserves at Bank Rate each Thursday.”This is a breaking news story, please check back later for more.

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