UK Gets New Libor Transition Head

The Bank of England and the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) have announced the appointment of Tushar Morzaria as the new chair of the Sterling Risk Free Reference Rates Working Group. 

The group was established in 2015 to implement the Financial Stability Board’s recommendation to develop alternative risk-free rates (RFRs) for use instead of Libor-style reference rates. In April 2017, the Working Group recommended the Sonia benchmark as their preferred RFR and since then has been focused on how to transition to using Sonia across sterling markets. 

Morzaria has been the chief financial officer at Barclays and a member of the Group Board since 2013. He is a qualified accountant and has previously held senior roles at JP Morgan Chase, Credit Suisse and SG Warburg. He will become chair of the working group from the start of 2019, taking over from Francois Jourdain, who has been chair since inception in 2015. The Bank and FCA say that under Jourdain’s leadership, the group “has placed the UK at the leading edge of global efforts to transition from Libor, recommending and overseeing adoption of the market’s preferred risk free rate, Sonia, and building cross-market support for the steps needed to bring about full transition”. 

“I am delighted that Tushar Morzaria has agreed to serve as the new chair of the UK’s Risk Free Rate Working Group,” says Bank of England governor Mark Carney. “Tushar takes the mantle of chair at a pivotal time for the transition away from Libor towards new robust RFRs, which can only be achieved with strong direction, broad engagement and clear co-ordination across the financial sector and beyond. Tushar’s experience in strategic management across financial services and markets, plus his extensive international expertise, make him ideally suited to leading this transition for the market, and I look forward to working closely with him.” 

Andrew Bailey, CEO of the FCA adds, “Financial markets need to move off Libor and on to Sonia and the other chosen Risk Free Rates by end 2021. This transition has begun, but there is much work yet to do. I welcome Tushar’s agreement to take on this important role co-ordinating and leading the cross market work on transition.”

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Colin Lambert

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