The ICMA FIIF Treasury Counsel Group
The ICMA Financial Institution Issuer Forum (FIIF), having been operational for eight years, has now expanded to include a sub-group for treasury legal teams, it having become apparent that treasury legal teams had no similar dedicated channel. While the FIIF comprises senior treasury representatives of the major frequent bank issuers, the Treasury Counsel Group (TCG) is open to the members of treasury legal teams who support the treasury function from a legal, compliance and risk point of view. From the ICMA point of view, the TCG is invaluable in order to support the FIIF, to maximise the benefits overall for our issuer members and to ensure that we continue to provide a comprehensive, rounded issuer voice for regulatory authorities and for other ICMA members.
For the issuers, the FIIF is a markets-based forum, dealing with market tensions and behaviours, the practical impact of market developments and the implementation of regulation on balance sheet management, new issues processes, transaction execution and investor relations. The FIIF also takes a close interest in the interplay of FinTech, automation and market electronification as it relates to all these areas.
The TCG is complementary to other, longer established ICMA primary market groups, such as the Legal & Documentation Committee. As such, as well as being a point of reference and a repository of information and expertise for the members, the TCG allows ICMA to engage with this important group on issues which are being addressed in the other primary market groups. The TCG further establishes the links between ICMA members across different constituencies by providing an open channel of communication for direct discussion: for instance, liaising with the AMIC Primary Market Investor Working Group on current market practice and future efficiencies when it comes to deal announcement terms, availability of deal documentation and availability of ISINs at deal launch.
As well as participating in the FIIF meetings directly, the TCG meets within the margins of the FIIF meetings to discuss other points of substance. However, it is important to note that, although there is significant cross-over of remit and interest within the FIIF and the TCG, one is not considered to be a substitute for the other, and the two groups will continue to co-exist independently of each other. A number of themes has emerged over the last year for the TCG, some directly in support of the FIIF’s agenda, and others in support of a broader remit.
The remit includes commentary on the evolution of the Prospectus Regulation, as to which the FIIF has supported various ICMA efforts, such as the ICMA response to the ESMA consultation on risk factor guidelines. Transition to risk-free rates is of obvious interest to the TCG, many of whose firms are facing the challenges associated with how to deal with legacy bond transactions which continue to reference LIBOR post-2021. The ensuing discussion of potential outcomes and consequences is not only of high quality, but also allows ICMA to assess the feasibility of possible market-led solutions taking account of all market perspectives. The position of regulatory capital and recognition of resolution systems post-Brexit is a concern to the TCG, as is the implementation of preferred resolution strategies taking account of various central bank approaches to MREL requirements. All of these issues will be considered further at future meetings of the TCG, the first of which is taking place in January 2019.
Currently, the TCG comprises 12 of the FIIF member firms, but engagement from all financial issuers is encouraged to increase the inputs and reach of the group.
Contact: Katie Kelly