I've read multiple references that imply that the valuation of OTC derivatives being related to bank funding cost. Given that an uncollateralised OTC derivative needs no funding from the bank's treasury - no cash is required to maintain the position - I am struggling to see the connection.

Is there a simple relation between the two that I've missed? Is there a relationship between the value of the derivative and what the bank posts onto their balance sheet?

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Why do you claim 'No (extra) cash is required to maintain a position'? $\endgroup$ – James Spencer-Lavan Jul 1 '18 at 7:03

Here are two scenarios where physical cash is immediately required from the treasury to fund the position;

Collateralised hedges, and market movements.

A bank will typically hedge its exposure using the interbank market which have collateralised trades. If the uncollateralised trade moves positively and becomes an asset the hedge, natyrally, moves adversely and becomes a liability. The bank will be required to post collateral on the liability and it will receive nothing fron the uncollateralised trade, meaning a cash injection.

Paying coupons, without a market movement.

On a collateralised trade when a coupon payment is made the NPV of the remaining trade is adjusted and the side with liability who receives the coupon posts it back to the asset holder as collateral, so although there is a transfer of ownership of cash there is no practical movement of cash. Not so with uncollateralised trades. The coupon payment is a physical movement of cash and needs to be funded if it is an outflow.


Regulatory Capital

Capital charges for banks, as specified by Basel III, form a different kind of funding charge. The minimum capital that a bank is required to hold against the trade, in terms of risk capital charge, leverage ratio, and/or risk-weighted-asset (RWA) charge are more stringent in general for uncollateralised trades. Bank capital costs are measured against the cost of funding.

  • $\begingroup$ the valuation of a derivative based on whether it is hedged or not isn't 100% convincing - what if there is no hedge for the derivative? $\endgroup$ – Trent Di Jul 5 '18 at 11:04
  • $\begingroup$ If it is a derivative that has no coupons, then (since it is not a security) its mid market NPV is zero (plus a bank facilitation fee). If there are no hedges available its very likely a highly structured product in a specialised sector. I have seen SPVs created for such trades (although they had hedges) and/or potentially placed in banking book where thy are not subject to MTM. For fringe cases like that there are many other factors that go into pricing but perhaps funding is not the major issue, but Basel III risk capital will be one. 99% of cases I suspect are described as above. $\endgroup$ – Attack68 Jul 5 '18 at 11:35

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