Our financial performance is affected by two items that do not reflect the day-to-day business of the Group – the Asset Protection Scheme (APS) and the fair value of own debt. Both can exhibit counter-cyclical behaviour, in that improving market conditions result in a charge, and vice versa.
The APS is a credit derivative and so must be accounted for at fair value; fluctuations in this value are reflected in the results. If market circumstances are getting better and credit spreads for the assets in the covered portfolio narrow, the value of the protection decreases and a loss is recognised. If spreads widen, the protection is more valuable, giving rise to a gain.
For accounting purposes, the group values some of its issued debt (e.g. bond issues) at the current market price. Changes in this value are recorded in profit or loss. Part of this change results from market movements in the price of the group's credit: when the group's credit spreads tighten a loss is recorded, when they widen a gain is recorded.