U.K. Urges Fix for Brexit Threat to $137 Trillion of Derivatives

(Bloomberg) -- The U.K.’s top financial regulators called for lawmakers on both sides of the Channel to defuse the threat posed by Brexit to 96 trillion pounds ($137 trillion) worth of derivatives contracts.

Ensuring the contracts can be serviced after Brexit is among the most urgent issues facing European markets, Sam Woods, head of supervision at the Bank of England, and Financial Conduct Authority chief Andrew Bailey told lawmakers in London on Thursday. At risk are 26 trillion pounds in over-the-counter derivatives and 70 trillion pounds in contracts settled at central clearinghouses, according to the BOE.

“We think the U.K. government and EU authorities need to bring forward legislation to their relevant parliaments to put in a fix,” Woods said in a parliamentary hearing held at Bloomberg’s London headquarters. "We just simply don’t find it plausible based on our previous experience of moving books of this stuff around that it can be done in a confident and complete way even by the end of the implementation period.”

Existing contracts between U.K. and EU firms rely on authorizations to do business in a local market or across the 28-nation bloc. After Brexit, those authorizations may go away and firms could no longer be able to service the contracts, leaving clients in the lurch. U.K. regulators have been warning about the potential risks to financial stability for months.

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