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The LaSalle Street Podcast

In this episode, LaSalle Street welcomes Robert Steigerwald, senior policy advisor in the Financial Markets Group of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, to discuss more than five decades of market evolution—from the bankruptcy of Herstatt Bank in the 1970s to the emergence of digital money. Moderating the conversation is Nahiomy Alvarez, senior financial markets analyst at the Chicago Fed.

October 12, 2021 – Financial Market Evolution from Herstatt Bank to Crypto

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Publications, conferences, and news

Our staff frequently publishes articles, working papers, conference agendas, and more. You can view them all below, or use the dropdown to select a specific category.

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Eighth Annual Central Counterparties Risk Management Conference—A Summary

January 31, 2022
by Nomaan Chandiwalla

On October 19, 2021, the Financial Markets Group of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago hosted its eighth annual Central Counterparties (CCP) Risk Management conference. The event featured a panel of experts discussing the U.S. Treasury market structure and a fireside chat with Commissioner Allison Herren Lee of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). This blog post summarizes the discussions.

Fireside Chat with SEC Commissioner Allison Herren Lee and Maggie Sklar

October 2021

Securities and Exchange Commissioner Allison Herren Lee shares her views on a wide-ranging set of market structure issues with Maggie Sklar, Senior Policy Advisor and Director of International Engagement, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.

What’s the Potential Impact of Force Majeure Claims on Financial Stability?

September 2021
by Alessandro Cocco

This article examines the potential aggregate impact on financial stability of several bilateral force majeure claims filed at approximately the same time in one or more markets. One and a half years after the pandemic started, I take stock of the developments involving force majeure claims thus far, and conclude that the likelihood of these claims creating a systemic threat to financial stability is low.

Is a Treasury Clearing Mandate the Path to Increased Central Clearing?

June 2021
by Marta Chaffee and Sam Schulhofer-Wohl

Following stresses in the market for U.S. Treasury securities in March 2020, several observers suggested that increased central clearing of Treasury transactions could help the market function better and called for investigating the costs and benefits of a clearing mandate. This post argues that the effectiveness of a clearing mandate is unclear absent broad changes in the design of the Treasury market. Additionally, the changes in market design necessary to facilitate a clearing mandate could increase clearing even without a mandate. Analysis of the costs and benefits of expanded clearing therefore needs to consider the specific costs and benefits of these broader changes.

Clearing: Perspectives on Industry Developments and Learnings From the Covid Crisis

June 2021
by Ketan B. Patel

LaSalle Street hosts a discussion with executives representing exchanges, swap dealers, clearinghouses and asset managers on the impact of the Covid crisis and what to watch for as the pandemic eases.

Third Annual Joint Conference of the Deutsche Bundesbank, European Central Bank and Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago on CCP Risk Management

March 2021

Financial leaders from around the world gathered for the Third Annual Joint Conference on CCP Risk Management organized by the Deutsche Bundesbank, the European Central Bank, and the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago. Over the course of the day, speeches, fireside chats, and panel debates grappled with the pressing issues facing the financial sector. They addressed the industry’s response to COVID-19, climate change risk in financial markets, and ongoing structural changes in clearing.

Externalities in Securities Clearing and Settlement: Should Securities CCPs Clear Trades for Everyone?

March 2021
by Sam Schulhofer-Wohl

The architecture of securities clearing and settlement in the United States creates an externality: Investors do not always bear the full cost of settlement risk for their trades and can impose some of these costs on the brokerages where they are customers. When markets are volatile and settlement risk is high, this externality can result in too much or too little trading relative to the efficient level, because investors ignore trading costs but brokerages may refuse to allow investors to trade. Both effects were evident during the recent volatility in GameStop stock. Alternative approaches for clearing customer trades that are used in derivatives markets would eliminate the externality. I examine the potential benefits and costs of different approaches for clearing customer securities trades as well as implications for the U.S. Treasury market, where there have been calls to investigate the costs and benefits of expanded clearing of customer trades, and the relationship to faster equities settlement.

“YOLOing the Market”: Market Manipulation? Implications for Markets and Financial Stability

March 2021
by Maggie Sklar

Since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020, retail investors have increasingly participated at higher rates in the U.S. equities markets, particularly in day trading and short-term trading. In January 2021, amid a surge of online postings and interest by retail investors who use free trading apps, GameStop stock began moving up and down by billions of dollars a day—resulting in big gains for some investors and billions in losses for others. To the extent the proliferation of free trading democratizes the market, increases the diversity of participants able to participate in the market, and contributes to vibrant and healthy markets, this activity has positive benefits. These recent developments pose new questions for policymakers, such as whether the ability for users to gather together on social media and move the price of a financial product—for reasons unrelated to market news or market fundamentals—is a larger vulnerability, whether this activity fits into tools to prevent or stop market manipulation or not, and if there is a gap in regulatory ways to address such activity.

Climate Change Risk in Financial Markets: Advancing the Conversation in 2021

January 2021

The Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago’s Financial Markets Group opened 2021 with a conversation on climate change risk in financial markets. Panelists representing diverse perspectives discussed the following: How has climate change risk impacted global financial markets to date, and what can we expect moving forward? What are some of the key developments to watch out for—in terms of technology, investing practices, new guidance, etc.? What role can financial markets and the public sector play in better managing this risk moving forward? What are some of the strengths of and opportunities for existing efforts?

Treasury Market Structure Podcast

January 2021
By Alessandro Cocco and Sam Schulhofer-Wohl

In this episode, experts from industry, academia, and government discuss the operations of and recent stresses in the U.S. Treasury market. This market has a huge impact across the financial system—from determining the borrowing costs for governments to serving as a key benchmark within the financial system to helping to keep credit flowing to people who need it.

Can Central Counterparties (CCPs) Use Improved Buffers to Reduce Cyclical Funding Demands on the Market?

November 2020
By Ketan B. Patel

In this blog post, Ketan B. Patel investigates changes in margin at central counterparties (CCPs) during the market stress of 2020:Q1 to show how reactive CCP funding demands were to the increase in market volatility. He examines whether rainy day funding in the form of buffers might be useful in supporting the broader resilience of the clearing ecosystem.

A New Framework for Assessing Climate Change Risk in Financial Markets

November 2020
By Nahiomy Alvarez, Alessandro Cocco, and Ketan B. Patel

While there is growing recognition that climate change poses a new risk for the economy, more research is needed to understand how climate change risk affects global financial markets. We establish a new framework for this research by merging the climate change risk categories of physical risk, transition risk, and liability risk with the risk categories commonly assessed in the financial markets: market risk, credit risk, liquidity risk, and operational risk. We then factor in market structure and market regulation as we seek to assess the overall impact of these variables on systemic risk. Our framework shows that climate change affects each of the risk-management categories commonly assessed in the financial markets as well as the ways that they interact to generate broader systemic risk.

7th Annual Conference on CCP Risk Management

November 2020

Ketan B. Patel will moderate a panel discussion on Resilience and Lessons Learned in Central Clearing in 2020. Senior policymakers, central bankers, market regulators, industry leaders and others are invited to participate in the conference. The CCP Risk Management Conference is by invitation only. To encourage candid discussion among invited participants, the conference is conducted under the Chatham House rule and is not open to the press. This conference has been very well attended in the past.

Diversity in Financial Markets

October 2020

The Chicago Fed and FIA teamed up with a group of expert panelists to explore past and present experiences, as well as the outlook for diversity in financial markets. The panelists explored why diversity is important, how to achieve it, and what metrics could be used to determine progress. During this interactive webinar, panelists also shared their experiences and answer audience questions on impactful changes and how to move your organization and the broader industry forward.

Watch the recording here.

What Are the Financial Systemic Implications of Access and Non-Access to Federal Reserve Deposit Accounts for Central Counterparties?

October 2020
By Maggie Sklar

In this working paper, I examine the interconnections between designated derivatives central counterparties (CCPs) with Federal Reserve deposit accounts and non-designated CCPs and the potential financial stability implications. This working paper notes the interconnections between the non-designated and designated derivatives CCPs through their clearing members and the commercial custodial banks they utilize to hold and transfer collateral. The paper then identifies additional potential contagion risks and financial stability risks, including liquidity risk, market risk, concentration risk, and loss of confidence more broadly. Although there are a number of research articles addressing these topics with respect to designated CCPs or OTC derivatives, this working paper includes the perspective looking at U.S. futures CCPs and non-designated CCPs.

The Future of Innovation in an Inclusive Chicago

October 2020

Chicago is a global hub for innovation in finance, technology, and other sectors. Yet continued innovation is not a given, and the makeup of the city’s population has not been reflected in its most innovative industries. How can Chicago’s history of innovation continue, and how can it include all residents of the city?

Law & Compliance Division Conference

October 2020

Robert Steigerwald participated in a panel discussion of “CCP Risk” at the Futures Industry Association’s Virtual Law & Compliance Conference. The panel discussed CCP risk management issues, including the CCP risk whitepaper, as well as newly finalized amendments to Part 39 regulations.

What Risk Managers from NASDAQ and Options Clearing Corp Learned From the Covid-19 Crisis: Perspectives on Resilience and Challenges During the Pandemic

September 2020

This episode of LaSalle Street welcomes chief risk officers from Options Clearing Corporation and Nasdaq Inc. to discuss what the pandemic is teaching us about risk management and global financial markets.

Clearinghouse Risk, Reference Rates, and Cryptocurrency with Former CFTC Chair J. Christopher Giancarlo

September 2020

The Honorable J. Christopher Giancarlo was on the frontlines of the biggest issues shaping global financial markets as the 13th chairman of the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC). Known by some as "CryptoDad," Giancarlo visits LaSalle Street to discuss his reflections a year after leaving the CFTC, key issues he faced during his tenure, and emerging issues shaping the markets today. The conversation includes discussion of clearinghouse risk and the work of the Financial Stability Board, the risks embedded in reference rates, and why regulators should be investing time in the future of digital currency.

The Influence and Limits of Central Bank Backstops

August 2020
By Sam Schulhofer-Wohl

In this post, I explain how central banks’ “backstop” lending facilities can influence financial conditions even when the facilities see relatively little borrowing. The knowledge that credit is available, even if at a relatively high penalty interest rate, can calm markets and encourage confidence in the economy. The availability of a backstop can also influence interest rates on private-sector transactions. However, backstops aim to support normal market functioning—not to make credit cheaper or more plentiful than what a normally functioning market would deliver.

Chicago Fed Hires Ketan B. Patel as Policy Advisor and Head of Financial Markets Risk Analysis

July 2020

Patel will be responsible for analyzing the public policy implications of risks in financial markets and financial market infrastructures. The group’s research on financial market institutions, technology and infrastructure helps inform and foster stable and efficient national monetary, financial and payments systems.

Monetary Policy Implementation With an Ample Supply of Reserves

January 2020
By Gara Afonso, Kyungmin Kim, Antoine Martin, Ed Nosal, Simon Potter and Sam Schulhofer-Wohl

Chicago Fed Hires Maggie Sklar as Senior Policy Advisor and Director of International Engagement

December 2019

Maggie Sklar joined the economic research department as senior policy advisor and director of international engagement in the financial markets group. Sklar reports to Vice President Alessandro Cocco.

Chicago Fed Hires Vice President of Financial Markets Group

October 2019

The Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago announced that Alessandro Cocco will join the economic research department on October 21 as vice president of the financial markets group. Cocco will report to senior vice president Sam Schulhofer-Wohl.

6th Annual CCP Risk Management Conference

October 2019
Conference agenda

International Regulators Conference

October 2018
Conference agenda

Symposium on OTC Derivatives—A Conference Summary

August 2017
By Rebecca Lewis and Ning Yu


April 2017
By Robert Cox and Robert Steigerwald

Non-Default Loss Allocation at CCPs

April 2017
By Rebecca Lewis and John W. McPartland

Blockchain and Financial Market Innovation

November 2017
By Rebecca Lewis, John W. McPartland and Rajeev Ranjan

Symposium on OTC Derivatives

May 2017
Conference agenda

Symposium on Central Clearing

May 2017
Conference agenda

Fourth Annual Conference on CCP Risk Management

October 2017
Conference agenda

Issues in clearing and settlement

March 2016
Conference agenda

Third Annual Conference on CCP Risk Management

October 2016
Conference agenda

A New Approach to Stock Market Execution

September 2015
By John W. McPartland and Rebecca Lewis

2015 Symposium on Central Clearing

April 2015
Conference agenda

2014 Derivatives Symposium

April 2014
Conference agenda

CCP Recovery and Resolution Conference

November 2014
Conference agenda

The Role of Time-Critical Liquidity in Financial Markets

July 2013
By Robert Steigerwald and David Marshall

How Do Clearing Organizations Control the Risks of High Speed Trading?

June 2012
By John W. McPartland and Carol Clark

2013 Derivatives Symposium

April 2013
Conference agenda

What Tools Do Vendors Provide to Control the Risks of High Speed Trading?

October 2011
By Carol Clark, Richard Heckinger, Rajeev Ranjan and John W. McPartland

What Is Clearing and Why Is It Important?

September 2010
By Robert Steigerwald and Ed Nosal

Clearing and Settlement of Exchange Traded Derivatives

October 2009
By John W. McPartland

Policymakers, Researchers, and Practitioners Discuss the Role of Central Counterparties

November 2006
By Douglas D. Evanoff, Daniela Russo, and Robert Steigerwald

Meet our staff

Nahiomy Alvarez
Alvarez, Nahiomy
Senior Financial Markets Analyst
Nomaan Chandiwalla
Chandiwalla, Nomaan
Financial Markets Analyst
Alessandro Cocco
Cocco, Alessandro
Vice President and Head of Financial Markets Group
Cindy Hull
Hull, Cindy
Policy Advisor
Jahru McCulley
McCulley, Jahru
Financial Markets Analyst
Ketan Patel
Patel, Ketan B.
Policy Advisor and Head of Financial Markets Risk Analysis
Sam Schulhofer-Wohl
Schulhofer-Wohl, Sam
Senior Vice President and Director of Financial Policy and Outreach
Santiago I. Sordo Palacios
Santiago I. Sordo Palacios
Senior Financial Markets Analyst
Robert Steigerwald
Steigerwald, Robert
Senior Policy Advisor, Financial Markets

The Financial Markets Group analyzes public policy issues in financial markets from multiple perspectives. The group applies legal, market practitioner, technological and other expertise to study challenges and risks in financial markets and infrastructures.

By communicating its findings to policymakers, regulators, industry leaders and the public, primarily through published work and conferences, the group contributes to the Federal Reserve’s mission of fostering the stability, integrity, and efficiency of the nation’s monetary, financial, and payment systems. The group has particular expertise in the derivatives markets and clearinghouses in which Chicago is a global leader.

We support a diverse and inclusive work environment where employees and stakeholders are respected, treated fairly, and given equal opportunities to perform to their fullest potential. By valuing diverse experiences, styles, approaches and ideas, we can achieve our goals, serve our stakeholders and become a higher-performing organization.

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