At a press conference following a meeting of Governing Council of the European Central Bank (ECB), president Mario Draghi announced that the ECB would (amongst other things) be starting consultations with the European Investment Bank (EIB) and European Commission on initiatives to promote a functioning market for asset backed-securities. Specifically mentioning securities backed by loans to non-financial enterprises (SME loans and residential mortgages), the ECB is clearly envisioning that a kick-start for the ABS market would also assist the recovery in the real economy. Noting the effect of the uncertain regulatory environment and the impact of low interest rates on the attractiveness of ABS as a funding tool, Mr Draghi was unable to provide a precise description of what action the ECB would take, stating that the ECB's thinking is at a preliminary stage and that no conclusions have yet been reached. However, it was made clear in the statement that the ECB is looking at "all possible options", including further purchases of ABS. This work may present an opportunity to derail (or at least delay) the Basel Committee's complex proposals for an overhaul of the securitisation risk weighted assets framework, which we outlined in a Feature piece in Edition 2 of this Briefing. In any event, those proposals as they stand are expected to hinder a recovery in the European ABS market, regardless of support from the ECB or otherwise.
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ECB looking at "all possible options" to promote securitisation market
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