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Fed finalizes efforts to pick 3 new reference rates

The Federal Reserve Board finalized its plans to pick three new reference rates that it says would serve as a more transparent alternative to the long-established London Interbank Offered Rate, or LIBOR.

The Fed, which announced the three reference rates earlier this year, wrapped up its period for public comments on the proposal and expects to begin publishing the rates in the second quarter of 2018. The rates would be based off overnight repurchase agreement, or repo, transactions secured by Treasurys.

In a slight shift from its original proposal, the Fed said it would publish the rates by 8 a.m. instead of 8:30 a.m., partly because the later release time would overlap with the announcement of some U.S. economic indicators and would be too late for some foreign markets. The board and the New York Fed will consider publishing the rates earlier, but the Fed said doing so may be too difficult to manage operationally. The New York Fed and the U.S. Office of Financial Research will work together prepare the rates.

The announcement follows efforts from U.S. policymakers to find alternatives to LIBOR, which faced claims of being rigged years ago. Officials on the Alternative Reference Rate Committee had settled on a recommended alternative: the Secured Overnight Financing Rate, or SOFR.

The Fed will also publish the Triparty General Collateral Rate, or TGCR, and the Broad General Collateral Rate, or BGCR.

"The three interest rates will be constructed to reflect the cost of short-term secured borrowing in highly liquid and robust markets," the Fed said in a news release. "Because these rates are based on transactions secured by Treasury securities, they are essentially risk-free rates, providing a valuable benchmark for market participants to use in financial transactions."