Message from LMA Chief Executive, Clare Dawson

4 May 2020

Dear member,

You may recall that a few weeks ago we ran a survey of members to find out what we can best focus on at the moment to support our members in these unprecedented times. We had around 400 responses, from members based not just across EMEA but also in Asia Pacific and both North and South America, which is an excellent level of engagement given the many other calls upon people's time at the moment. Just under two thirds of the responses came from people at banks and non-banks, with lawyers making up the bulk of the remainder.

On documentation, most people asked the LMA to produce both relevant clauses for loan documents, where applicable, to address the impact of Covid 19, and generic guidance on the impact of the current situation on facility agreements and issues to consider. We know that over 1,800 people have watched Nicola Wherity's webinar on the impact of Covid 19 on facility agreements, but if you have not yet had a look at it I encourage you to do so. In terms of documentation, we are keeping a close eye on market developments to see if there are any areas where LMA language could help, and are also investigating whether there are any documents we could produce to help lenders offering facilities under the UK CLBILS scheme.

On the operations side, the overwhelming response was issues around electronic signatures. Last week, we launched a webinar on electronic signatures with panellists from a number of European jurisdictions.

With regard to regulation, the two main issues mentioned were, unsurprisingly, understanding and implementation of the various national and supra-national Covid assistance measures, and also benchmark reform. On the first, we are looking to get as much material as we can in terms of briefing notes onto our website. On benchmark reform, a lot of work is still going on behind the scenes, particularly on compounding conventions, how to use compound in arrear for syndicated loans given the complexities that the flexibility of the loan product produces, and on documentation for RFR products. Many people asked about the timetable for LIBOR transition given current circumstances – members might want to look at the latest statements from the RFRWG and the ARRC on timing and milestones.

Finally, on the key subject of education and training, over 70% of respondents continue to look to us for documentation training, with over 60% also seeking market updates. We will continue to adapt our training programme to virtual events that replicate as far as possible our previously planned programme – and are hoping to run our first virtual Certificate Course soon. Another first that we've already delivered was our first podcast, on the Covid effect and other developments in developing markets, available in two instalments. Please look on the new virtual events area on the website to see a list of all the webinars, spotlight interviews etc that are available.

I would like to thank all those who replied to the survey, the feedback we received is invaluable in helping us to plan our activity while we remain in these difficult times. We are also delighted with the level of engagement from our members – 70% of respondents to the survey said they looked at the LMA website once a week or more, and we have seen that the number of members accessing the website has increased significantly since before the lockdown that most of us are experiencing. And good news continues on the membership front; we are now up to 738, with both previous members renewing and new members joining since my last update.

I would also like to thank all our volunteers for their support – committee and working group members continue to give us feedback on documentation and other projects, and we have had many willing volunteers stepping up to take part in webinars and podcasts. Hopefully speakers' willingness to be filmed won't decrease as the time grows since we've all been able to get our hair cut!

With best wishes to all our members

LMA Chief Executive