"Citigroup Inc. and the wreckage of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. have resolved a fight over $2.1 billion that dates to the financial crisis, while quietly burying a key question about derivatives-trading practices.
Citigroup agreed Friday that it will give back $1.74 billion to the estate of the failed New York-based investment bank. Citigroup had kept about $2.1 billion that Lehman had on deposit with it for trades on everything from interest rates to corporate and sovereign debt at the time of the 2008 bankruptcy [...]
He said there was hope it would bring a legal opinion on issues like bid-ask spreads, netting or combinations of trades, and whether counterparties are entitled to the cost of replacing trades even if they don’t actually replace them.
'It would have been nice to get clarity from a judicial process,' Niculescu said in a phone interview. He noted that a public ruling could have a big downside for both Citigroup and Lehman, however; for Citigroup, it could affect current trading practices, and for Lehman, it could set a precedent for how it would settle remaining claims"
Lexis PLS Banking & Finance analysis: Capital Market Risk Advisors (CMRA) has surveyed market participants about the new variation and initial margin requirements. Leslie Rahl and Peter Niculescu, partners at CMRA and members of the P.R.I.M.E. Finance Panel of Experts outline the responses on this topic and highlight the potential benefits and costs of implementing the new regulations and explain that while the new regulations seek to reduce both systemic risk and counterparty risk, they likely will not significantly curtail future legal disputes surrounding derivatives closeout.
The expert analysis and testimony prepared by Capital Market Risk Advisors (CMRA) - a leading risk management, risk governance, and litigation support boutique for the past 25 years - was extensively cited in a 524-page judgement dismissing all 187 claims, with almost $2 billion in alleged damages at stake, against Carlyle Capital Corporation Ltd's directors in a case involving leveraged RMBS.
“The parties seem pretty far apart in their perceptions of the value of the claim,” Peter Niculescu, a partner at Capital Market Risk Advisors who has worked on previous Lehman settlements, told me. “There did not seem to be from the public docs any likely avenue to reconcile their perceptions.” [...]
Lehman’s industry agreement, which required participating banks to net along strict and agreed-upon guidelines, could be an indication. “It’s not the law, but it does contain the imprimatur of commercial reasonableness given how many have agreed to it,” Niculescu said.
But a judgment with Citi would create a different precedent. “The question is how to resolve a settlement dispute involving a variety of derivatives with the non-defaulting counterparty [Citi] would never have intended to replace, and whether they should be valued at a line-item replacement cost or whether true economic replacement costs mean something different,” Niculescu said.