The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) has published its fifth stress test of Central Counterparties (CCPs), highlighting resilience but also significant areas needing enhancement. The test emphasises the need for better integration of climate risk and improved management of concentration risk.

For the first time, ESMA’s stress test included climate risk, addressing both transition risks from the shift to a low-carbon economy and physical risks from natural disasters. While some CCPs have started integrating climate risks, the approach is still in its infancy. CCPs in markets heavily impacted by climate risk, such as commodities and energy, need to accelerate their climate risk strategies.

The test’s scenarios assessed concentration risk, where few clearing members with large positions could magnify losses in case of default. Results indicated that although CCPs have robust defences, gaps persist, particularly in commodity derivatives. ESMA highlights the need for improved risk management frameworks.


Regarding liquidity risk, the test evaluated CCPs’ capability to meet obligations under severe stress. Findings were generally reassuring, but potential vulnerabilities were noted, especially when interoperable links between CCPs are disrupted. This underscores the need for sufficient liquid resources and robust contingency plans.

Clearing ecosystem insights

The analysis showed a 56 per cent rise in required margins, reflecting increased market volatility. However, this increase was more evenly distributed among clearing members than before.

The interconnectedness within the clearing ecosystem was also scrutinised, raising concerns about systemic risk if a major player fails.


ESMA’s stress test confirms EU CCPs’ resilience to severe shocks but identifies crucial areas for improvement, particularly in climate and concentration risk management. These insights will shape future risk management and strengthen the financial infrastructure.