The IMF Working Papers series is designed to make IMF staff research available to a wide audience. Almost 300 Working Papers are released each year, covering a wide range of theoretical and analytical topics, including balance of payments, monetary and fiscal issues, global liquidity, and national and international economic developments.
The simultaneous unwinding of leveraged positions can trigger financial market turbulence. Although balance-sheet measures of leverage are available, it is useful to construct a measure of leverage that incorporates both on- and off-balance-sheet activities. This paper provides measures of leverage implicit in derivative contracts by decomposing the contracts into cash market equivalent components. A leverage ratio can then be calculated for this replicating portfolio, which consists of own funds (equity) and borrowed funds equivalents (debt). Methods for aggregating leverage by institution and by markets are presented. The interaction between leverage and risk is discussed, and a modified capital adequacy ratio is calculated, which captures off-balance-sheet exposure.