High Quality Liquid Assets (HQLAs)


Ajit Kumar AJIT KUMARWISDOM IAS, New Delhi.


The numerator of the Liquidity coverage ratio (LCR) is the “stock of HQLA”. Under the standard, banks must hold a stock of unencumbered HQLA to cover the total net cash outflows (as defined below) over a 30-day period under the prescribed stress scenario. In order to qualify as “HQLA”, assets should be liquid in markets during a time of stress and, ideally, be central bank eligible.

Characteristics of HQLA

Assets are considered to be HQLA if they can be easily and immediately converted into cash at little or no loss of value. The liquidity of an asset depends on the underlying stress scenario, the volume to be monetised and the timeframe considered. Nevertheless, there are certain assets that are more likely to generate funds without incurring large discounts in sale or repurchase agreement (repo) markets due to fire-sales even in times of stress. This section outlines the factors that influence whether or not the market for an asset can be relied upon to raise liquidity when considered in the context of possible stresses. These factors should assist supervisors in determining which assets, despite meeting the criteria from paragraphs 49 to 54, are not sufficiently liquid in private markets to be included in the stock of HQLA.

Fundamental characteristics
- Low risk: assets that are less risky tend to have higher liquidity. High credit standing of the issuer and a low degree of subordination increase an asset’s liquidity. Low duration, 7 low legal risk, low inflation risk and denomination in a convertible currency with low foreign exchange risk all enhance an asset’s liquidity
- Ease and certainty of valuation: an asset’s liquidity increases if market participants are more likely to agree on its valuation. Assets with more standardised, homogenous and simple structures tend to be more fungible, promoting liquidity. The pricing formula of a high-quality liquid asset must be easy to calculate and not depend on strong assumptions. The inputs into the pricing formula must also be publicly available. In practice, this should rule out the inclusion of most structured or exotic products.
- Low correlation with risky assets: the stock of HQLA should not be subject to wrong-way (highly correlated) risk. For example, assets issued by financial institutions are more likely to be illiquid in times of liquidity stress in the banking sector.
- Listed on a developed and recognised exchange: being listed increases an asset’s transparency.

(ii) Market-related characteristics
- Active and sizable market: the asset should have active outright sale or repo markets at all times. This means that: − There should be historical evidence of market breadth and market depth. This could be demonstrated by low bid-ask spreads, high trading volumes, and a large and diverse number of market participants. Diversity of market participants reduces market concentration and increases the reliability of the liquidity in the market. − There should be robust market infrastructure in place. The presence of multiple committed market makers increases liquidity as quotes will most likely be available for buying or selling HQLA.
- Low volatility: Assets whose prices remain relatively stable and are less prone to sharp price declines over time will have a lower probability of triggering forced sales to meet liquidity requirements. Volatility of traded prices and spreads are simple proxy measures of market volatility. There should be historical evidence of relative stability of market terms (eg prices and haircuts) and volumes during stressed periods.
- Flight to quality: historically, the market has shown tendencies to move into these types of assets in a systemic crisis. The correlation between proxies of market liquidity and banking system stress is one simple measure that could be used.




Friday, 05th Feb 2016, 06:02:56 AM

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