White paper

Financial institutions: Fundamentals of LIBOR phase out and transition

Updated Oct 2021

Oct 21, 2019
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Audit Financial reporting Reference rate reform Financial institutions


The London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR) has been a common rate used by financial institutions since the 1980s. Acting in both lending and borrowing capacities, LIBOR has been commonplace as a standardized base (reference) rate in financial contracts ranging from lending agreements to interest rate swap contracts to bonds. There were major criticisms of LIBOR following the financial crisis, such as it lacking the market-driven inputs necessary to serve as a benchmark. These criticisms led to the expected phase out of certain LIBOR tenors starting at the end of 2021 and the remainder through June 2023. As a result of the publication of LIBOR rates ceasing, one or more replacement benchmark rates need to be identified for those contracts that reference LIBOR. Our white paper, Financial institutions: Fundamentals of LIBOR phase out and transition, provides additional background on the LIBOR phase out, as well as information about available replacement reference rates. Our white paper also discusses the operational complexity financial institutions will experience in transitioning from LIBOR to a replacement rate, and the efforts of the Financial Accounting Standards Board to provide optional expedients that will ease the accounting for that transition.

RSM contributors

  • Michael Gaiso
    Senior Director
  • Amber Sarb
    Senior Manager