FRTB: Harnessing Synergies Between Regulations

March 2021
5 min read

Discover how leveraging synergies across key regulatory frameworks like SIMM, BCBS 239, SA-CVA, and the IBOR transition can streamline your compliance efforts and ease the burden of FRTB implementation.

Regulatory Landscape

Despite a delay of one year, many banks are struggling to be ready for FRTB in January 2023. Alongside the FRTB timeline, banks are also preparing for other important regulatory requirements and deadlines which share commonalities in implementation. We introduce several of these below.


Initial Margin (IM) is the value of collateral required to open a position with a bank, exchange or broker.  The Standard Initial Margin Model (SIMM), published by ISDA, sets a market standard for calculating IMs. SIMM provides margin requirements for financial firms when trading non-centrally cleared derivatives.

BCBS 239

BCBS 239, published by the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision, aims to enhance banks’ risk data aggregation capabilities and internal risk reporting practices. It focuses on areas such as data governance, accuracy, completeness and timeliness. The standard outlines 14 principles, although their high-level nature means that they are open to interpretation.


Credit Valuation Adjustment (CVA) is a type of value adjustment and represents the market value of the counterparty credit risk for a transaction. FRTB splits CVA into two main approaches: BA-CVA, for smaller banks with less sophisticated trading activities, and SA-CVA, for larger banks with designated CVA risk management desks.


Interbank Offered Rates (IBORs) are benchmark reference interest rates. As they have been subject to manipulation and due to a lack of liquidity, IBORs are being replaced by Alternative Reference Rates (ARRs). Unlike IBORs, ARRs are based on real transactions on liquid markets rather than subjective estimates.

Synergies With Current Regulation

Existing SIMM and BCBS 239 frameworks and processes can be readily leveraged to reduce efforts in implementing FRTB frameworks.


The overarching process of SIMM is very similar to the FRTB Sensitivities-based Method (SbM), including the identification of risk factors, calculation of sensitivities and aggregation of results. The outputs of SbM and SIMM are both based on delta, vega and curvature sensitivities. SIMM and FRTB both share four risk classes (IR, FX, EQ, and CM). However, in SIMM, credit is split across two risk classes (qualifying and non-qualifying), whereas it is split across three in FRTB (non-securitisation, securitisation and correlation trading). For both SbM and SIMM, banks should be able to decompose indices into their individual constituents. 

We recommend that banks leverage the existing sensitivities infrastructure from SIMM for SbM calculations, use a shared risk factor mapping methodology between SIMM and FRTB when there is considerable alignment in risk classes, and utilise a common index look-through procedure for both SIMM and SbM index decompositions.

BCBS 239

BCBS 239 requires banks to review IT infrastructure, governance, data quality, aggregation policies and procedures. A similar review will be required in order to comply with the data standards of FRTB. The BCBS 239 principles are now in “Annex D” of the FRTB document, clearly showing the synergy between the two regulations. The quality, transparency, volume and consistency of data are important for both BCBS 239 and FRTB. Improving these factors allow banks to easily follow the BCBS 239 principles and decrease the capital charges of non-modellable risk factors. BCBS 239 principles, such as data completeness and timeliness, are also necessary for passing P&L attribution (PLA) under FRTB.

We recommend that banks use BCBS 239 principles when designing the necessary data frameworks for the FRTB Risk Factor Eligibility Test (RFET), support FRTB traceability requirements and supervisory approvals with existing BCBS 239 data lineage documentation, and produce market risk reporting for FRTB using the risk reporting infrastructure detailed in BCBS 239.

Synergies With Future Regulation

The IBOR transition and SA-CVA will become effective from 2023. Aligning the timelines and exploiting the similarities between FRTB, SA-CVA and the IBOR transition will support banks to be ready for all three regulatory deadlines.


Four of the six risk classes in SA-CVA (IR, FX, EQ, and CM) are identical to those in SbM. SA-CVA, however, uses a reduced granularity for risk factors compared to SbM. The SA-CVA capital calculation uses a similar methodology to SbM by combining sensitivities with risk weights. SA-CVA also incorporates the same trade population and metadata as SbM. SA-CVA capital requirements must be calculated and reported to the supervisor at the same monthly frequency as for the market risk standardised approach.

We recommend that banks combine SA-CVA and SbM risk factor bucketing tasks in a common methodology to reduce overall effort, isolate common components of both models as a feeder model, allowing a single stream for model development and validation, and develop a single system architecture which can be configured for either SbM or SA-CVA.

IBOR Transition

Although not a direct synergy, the transition from IBORs will have a direct impact to the Internal Models Approach (IMA) for FRTB and eligibility of risk factors. As the use of IBORs are discontinued, banks may observe a reduction in the number of real-price observations for associated risk factors due to a reduction in market liquidity. It is not certain if these liquidity issues fall under the RFET exemptions for systemic circumstances, which apply to modellable risk factors which can no longer pass the test. It may be difficult for banks to obtain stress-period data for ARRs, which could lead to substantial efforts to produce and justify proxies. The transition may cause modifications to trading desk structure, the integration of external data providers, and enhanced operational requirements, which can all affect FRTB.

We recommend that banks investigate how much data is available for ARRs, for both stress-period calculations and real-price observations, develop any necessary proxies which will be needed to overcome data availability issues, as soon as possible, and Calculate IBOR capital consequences through the existing FRTB engine.


FRTB implementation is proving to be a considerable workload for banks, especially those considering opting for the IMA. Several FRTB requirements, such as PLA and RFET, are completely new requirements for banks. As we have shown in this article, there are several other important regulatory requirements which banks are currently working towards. As such, we recommend that banks should leverage the synergies which are seen across this regulatory landscape to reduce the complexity and workload of FRTB.


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