Message from LMA Chief Executive, Clare Dawson

12 June 2020

Dear member,

With summer upon us – though here in the UK the sunniest May on record meant that summer started very early – it's clear that, although lockdown is easing, at different rates across the globe, business travel and attendance at large events are unlikely to start up again for some time. At the LMA we are therefore continuing our rolling programme of adapting our events to a virtual format. Although we already had over 40 webinars available before lockdown started, in the last 3 months we have upped the pace of filming, and have added 9 webinars, as well as interviews and podcasts, and have a further 12 webinars in the pipeline. Next week we will be running our first virtual Certificate Course, and such was demand that we have decided to run it again in mid-July.

Our most ambitious undertaking in respect of events, however, is that we will be holding the Annual Conference on 22 September on a virtual basis. As always, we will be aiming to cover as wide a range of topics and market sectors as possible, and we are finding technical solutions to enable the overall experience to mirror as closely as possible the physical event – with the advantage that, although in the last few years we have live streamed the event, the ability to network, albeit virtually, will be available to far more people than we can accommodate at the conference centre.

However, despite all the work on events that the LMA team has been undertaking, we have certainly not been letting up on our activities in other areas. Work on the documentation automation project is progressing well, and we are also continuing to work on new documentation. The Borrowing Base Facility Agreement project is progressing, and work has now started on our first documentation project outside the core world of lending via the production of an insurance policy document for credit risk insurance. This document is still in the very early stages of discussion at working party level but, once published, will hopefully give greater comfort to those new to the market, giving them a greater understanding of the product's key features and requirements, from both a legal and regulatory perspective.

Many governments have put in place measures and schemes to help companies through the economic impact of the Covid19 pandemic. In the UK, the scheme of most relevance to the syndicated loan market is the CLBILS scheme, and we are working to publish soon guidance on the scheme and implications for lenders, particularly for example, in relation to ranking, security, interaction between Accredited Lenders and non-Accredited Lenders in syndicated transactions as well as general intercreditor issues. We are also working on a note and riders in respect of the DAC6 rules, which require intermediaries, including lenders, to report to tax authorities certain information about cross-border arrangements that exhibit one or more specified characteristics referred to as "hallmarks".

We also continue to keep a close eye on regulatory issues that could have adverse consequences for the syndicated loan market – particularly important at a time when governments may be trying to put legislation in place very quickly to address the effects of the pandemic.

And then of course there's always LIBOR. We are continuing to engage very actively with the regulators and working parties, and are also working on additional RFR related exposure drafts. The latest currently under production is a LIBOR based agreement with a shift to RFR at an agreed point, which is a mechanism that could, we hope, significantly reduce reliance on fallbacks while the market is still not ready to switch to RFR based facilities on a large scale.

Against this backdrop, membership continues to increase, and now stands at 744, another new record. We would like to thank all our members, both longstanding and new, for their support of the LMA, and all our many volunteers for their continuing contribution, be it on committees or working parties or as speakers, in these challenging times.

With best wishes to all our members

LMA Chief Executive