Understanding repos and the repo markets

Traders and investors seek to manage risks as intelligently as possible. Over the years, a portfolio of investment vehicles and risk-management techniques has been created to detect and reduce risk exposures. Secured fi nancing, where collateral is used to mitigate risks, is one of those techniques. It is increasingly used by cash investors and treasurers to protect themselves against counterparty and other potential risks. And, it is now a critical contributor to the effi cient functioning of global capital markets. Repurchase agreements – or ‘repos’ as they are commonly known – are one of the most widely used securities fi nancing transactions. They have become a key source of capital market liquidity. Previously viewed as a primarily back-offi ce activity in the 1990s, repos are now integral components of the banking industry’s treasury, liquidity and assets/liabilities management disciplines. Moreover, repos are also an essential transaction used by central banks for the management of open market operations.



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