The Federal Reserve Bank of New York works to promote sound and well-functioning financial systems and markets through its provision of industry and payment services, advancement of infrastructure reform in key markets and training and educational support to international institutions.
The Outreach and Education function engages, empowers and educates the Second District communities that the Bank serves, especially civic leaders, students, educators, small business owners, policymakers and the general public. It furthers the Bank's commitment to the region by listening to the communities we serve and leveraging our unique attributes to positively impact school and university programs, as well as analysis and research.
We examine the resolution of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in order to understand the sources of complexity in its resolution and inform the debate on appropriate resolution mechanisms for financial institutions. We focus on the settlement of Lehman’s creditor and counterparty claims, especially those relating to over-the-counter derivatives, where much of the complexity of Lehman’s bankruptcy resolution was rooted. We find that creditors’ recovery rate was 21 percent, below historical averages for firms comparable to Lehman. Losses were exacerbated by poor bankruptcy planning and mitigated by timely funding from the Fed. The settlement of OTC derivatives was a long and complex process, occurring on different tracks for different groups of derivatives creditors. Consequently, the resolution process was less predictable than expected, and it was difficult to obtain an informed view of the process.