On May 3, 2016, The ESMA published the results of its first EU-wide stress test for central counterparties, including recommendations for improving CCPs’ internal methodologies. ESMA must perform an annual stress test of all EU CCPs under the European Market Infrastructure Regulation. The exercise tested 17 European CCPs which held over €150 billion worth of default resources with more than 900 clearing members across the EU. The purpose of the stress test is to test the resilience and safety of the European CCP sector and identify any possible vulnerabilities, focusing on CCP credit risk when faced with multiple clearing member defaults and simultaneous price shocks. The results indicate that CCP resources are generally sufficient to cover losses resulting from the default of two EU-wide clearing member groups combined with historical and hypothetical market stress scenarios. However, under more severe stress scenarios, CCPs were faced with sector-wide residual uncovered losses varying from €0.1 billion to €4 billion. ESMA recommends that CCP internal methodologies can be improved by CCPs incorporating into their creditworthiness assessments of clearing members, the potential exposures their clearing members may face due to their membership in other CCPs and that regulators should ensure that CCPs revise the price shocks used in their internal stress test methodologies where the stress price shocks applied by CCPs were identified as not being as conservative as the minimum price shocks or as extreme as the most severe historical shocks.

The results of the stress test, including Q&A, are available at: https://www.esma.europa.eu/press-news/esma-news/esmapublishes-results-eu-central-counterparties-stress-test