forthcoming in Review of Asset Pricing Studies

Loss Sharing in Central Clearinghouses: Winners and Losers

Central clearing counterparties (CCPs) were established to mitigate default losses resulting from counterparty risk in derivatives markets. In a parsimonious model, we show that clearing benefits are distributed unevenly across market participants. Loss sharing rules determine who wins or loses from clearing. Current rules disproportionately benefit market participants with flat portfolios. Instead, those with directional portfolios are relatively worse off, consis-tent with their reluctance to voluntarily use central clearing. Alternative loss sharing rules can address cross-sectional disparities in clearing benefits. However, we show that CCPs may fa-vor current rules to maximize fee income, with externalities on clearing participation.