BANQUE SAUDI FRANSI
NOTES TO THE CONSOLIDATED FINANCIAL STATEMENTS For the years ended December 31, 2008 and 2007 _______________________________________________________________________________________________
In the ordinary course of business, the Bank utilizes the following derivative financial instruments for both trading and hedging purposes:
Swaps are commitments to exchange one set of cash flows for another. For commission rate swaps, counterparties generally exchange fixed and floating rate commission payments in a single currency without exchanging principal. For currency swaps, fixed and floating commission payments and principal are exchanged in different currencies. For cross currency commission rate swaps, principal, fixed and floating commission payments are exchanged in different currencies.
b) Forwards and futures
Forwards and futures are contractual agreements to either buy or sell a specified currency, commodity or financial instrument at a specified price and date in the future. Forwards are customized contracts transacted in the over the counter market. Foreign currency and commission rate futures are transacted in standardized amounts on regulated exchanges and changes in futures contract values are settled daily.
c) Forward rate agreements
Forward rate agreements are individually negotiated commission rate contracts that call for a cash settlement for the difference between a contracted commission rate and the market rate on a specified future date, on a notional principal for an agreed period of time.
Options are contractual agreements under which the seller (writer) grants the purchaser (holder) the right, but not the obligation, to either buy or sell at fixed future date or at any time during a specified period, a specified amount of a currency, commodity or financial instrument at a pre-determined price.
Held for trading purposes
Most of the Bank’s derivative trading activities relate to sales, positioning and arbitrage. Sales activities involve offering products to customers and other banks in order, inter alia, to enable them to transfer, modify or reduce current and future risks. Positioning involves managing market risk positions with the expectation of profiting from favorable movements in prices, rates or indices. Arbitrage involves identifying, with the expectation of profiting from price differentials between markets or products.
Held for hedging purposes
The Bank has adopted a comprehensive system for the measurement and the management of risk. Part of the risk management process involves managing the Bank’s exposure to fluctuations in foreign exchange and commission rates to reduce its exposure to currency and commission rate risks to acceptable levels as determined by the Board of Directors in accordance with the guidelines issued by SAMA. The Board of Directors has established the levels of currency risk by setting limits on counterparty and currency position exposures. Positions are monitored on a daily basis and hedging strategies are used to ensure positions are maintained within the established limits. The Board of Directors has also established the level of commission rate risk by setting commission rate sensitivity limits. Commission rate exposure in terms of the sensitivity is reviewed on a periodic basis and hedging strategies are used to reduce the exposure within the established limits.