Obligations - 1992 ISDA Provision

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1992 ISDA Master Agreement

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2 in a Nutshell

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2 Obligations

2(a) General Conditions.

2(a)(i) Each party will make each payment or delivery specified in each Confirmation to be made by it, subject to the other provisions of this Agreement.
2(a)(ii) Payments under this Agreement will be made on the due date for value on that date in the place of the account specified in the relevant Confirmation or otherwise pursuant to this Agreement, in freely transferable funds and in the manner customary for payments in the required currency. Where settlement is by delivery (that is, other than by payment), such delivery will be made for receipt on the due date in the manner customary for the relevant obligation unless otherwise specified in the relevant Confirmation or elsewhere in this Agreement.
2(a)(iii) Each obligation of each party under Section 2(a)(i) is subject to (1) the condition precedent that no Event of Default or Potential Event of Default with respect to the other party has occurred and is continuing, (2) the condition precedent that no Early Termination Date in respect of the relevant Transaction has occurred or been effectively designated and (3) each other applicable condition precedent specified in this Agreement.

2(b) Change of Account. Either party may change its account for receiving a payment or delivery by giving notice to the other party at least five Local Business Days prior to the scheduled date for the payment or delivery to which such change applies unless such other party gives timely notice of a reasonable objection to such change.
2(c) Netting. If on any date amounts would otherwise be payable:—

2(c)(i) in the same currency; and
2(c)(ii) in respect of the same Transaction,
by each party to the other, then, on such date, each party’s obligation to make payment of any such amount will be automatically satisfied and discharged and, if the aggregate amount that would otherwise have been payable by one party exceeds the aggregate amount that would otherwise have been payable by the other party, replaced by an obligation upon the party by whom the larger aggregate amount would have been payable to pay to the other party the excess of the larger aggregate amount over the smaller aggregate amount.
The parties may elect in respect of two or more Transactions that a net amount will be determined in respect of all amounts payable on the same date in the same currency in respect of such Transactions, regardless of whether such amounts are payable in respect of the same Transaction. The election may be made in the Schedule or a Confirmation by specifying that subparagraph (ii) above will not apply to the Transactions identified as being subject to the election, together with the starting date (in which case subparagraph (ii) above will not, or will cease to, apply to such Transactions from such date). This election may be made separately for different groups of Transactions and will apply separately to each pairing of Offices through which the parties make and receive payments or deliveries.

2(d) Deduction or Withholding for Tax.

2(d)(i) Gross-Up. All payments under this Agreement will be made without any deduction or withholding for or on account of any Tax unless such deduction or withholding is required by any applicable law, as modified by the practice of any relevant governmental revenue authority, then in effect. If a party is so required to deduct or withhold, then that party (“X”) will:—
(1) promptly notify the other party (“Y”) of such requirement;
(2) pay to the relevant authorities the full amount required to be deducted or withheld (including the full amount required to be deducted or withheld from any additional amount paid by X to Y under this Section 2(d)) promptly upon the earlier of determining that such deduction or withholding is required or receiving notice that such amount has been assessed against Y;
(3) promptly forward to Y an official receipt (or a certified copy), or other documentation reasonably acceptable to Y, evidencing such payment to such authorities; and
(4) if such Tax is an Indemnifiable Tax, pay to Y, in addition to the payment to which Y is otherwise entitled under this Agreement, such additional amount as is necessary to ensure that the net amount actually received by Y (free and clear of Indemnifiable Taxes, whether assessed against X or Y) will equal the full amount Y would have received had no such deduction or withholding been required. However, X will not be required to pay any additional amount to Y to the extent that it would not be required to be paid but for:—
(A) the failure by Y to comply with or perform any agreement contained in Section 4(a)(i), 4(a)(iii) or 4(d); or
(B) the failure of a representation made by Y pursuant to Section 3(f) to be accurate and true unless such failure would not have occurred but for
(I) any action taken by a taxing authority, or brought in a court of competent jurisdiction, on or after the date on which a Transaction is entered into (regardless of whether such action is taken or brought with respect to a party to this Agreement) or
(II) a Change in Tax Law.
2(d)(ii) Liability. If:―
(1) X is required by any applicable law, as modified by the practice of any relevant governmental revenue authority, to make any deduction or withholding in respect of which X would not be required to pay an additional amount to Y under Section 2(d)(i)(4);
(2) X does not so deduct or withhold; and
(3) a liability resulting from such Tax is assessed directly against X,
then, except to the extent Y has satisfied or then satisfies the liability resulting from such Tax, Y will promptly pay to X the amount of such liability (including any related liability for interest, but including any related liability for penalties only if Y has failed to comply with or perform any agreement contained in Section 4(a)(i), 4(a)(iii) or 4(d)).

2(e) Default Interest; Other Amounts. Prior to the occurrence or effective designation of an Early Termination Date in respect of the relevant Transaction, a party that defaults in the performance of any payment obligation will, to the extent permitted by law and subject to Section 6(c), be required to pay interest (before as well as after judgment) on the overdue amount to the other party on demand in the same currency as such overdue amount, for the period from (and including) the original due date for payment to (but excluding) the date of actual payment, at the Default Rate. Such interest will be calculated on the basis of daily compounding and the actual number of days elapsed. If, prior to the occurrence or effective designation of an Early Termination Date in respect of the relevant Transaction, a party defaults in the performance of any obligation required to be settled by delivery, it will compensate the other party on demand if and to the extent provided for in the relevant Confirmation or elsewhere in this Agreement.

The Varieties of ISDA Experience
Subject 2002 (wikitext) 1992 (wikitext) 1987 (wikitext)
Preamble Pre Pre Pre
Interpretation 1 1 1
Obligns/Payment 2 2 2
Representations 3 3 3
Agreements 4 4 4
EODs & Term Events 5

Events of Default
FTPDBreachCSDMisrepDUSTCross DefaultBankruptcyMWA
Termination Events
IllegalityTax EventTEUMCEUMATE

5

Events of Default
FTPDBreachCSDMisrepDUSTCross DefaultBankruptcyMWA
Termination Events
IllegalityTax EventTEUMCEUMATE

5

Events of Default
FTPDBreachCSDMisrepDUSTCross DefaultBankruptcyMWA
Termination Events
IllegalityFMTax EventTEUMCEUMATE

Early Termination 6

Early Termination
ET right on EODET right on TEEffect of DesignationCalculations

6

Early Termination
ET right on EODET right on TEEffect of DesignationCalculationsSet-off

6

Early Termination
ET right on EODET right on TEEffect of DesignationCalculationsSet-off

Transfer 7 7 7
Contractual Currency 8 8 8
Miscellaneous 9 9 9
Offices; Multibranch Parties 10 10 10
Expenses 11 11 11
Notices 12 12 12
Governing Law 13 13 13
Definitions 14 14 14
Schedule Schedule Schedule Schedule
Termination Provisions Part 1 Part 1 Part 1
Tax Representations Part 2 Part 2 Part 2
Documents for Delivery Part 3 Part 3 Part 3
Miscellaneous Part 4 Part 4 Part 4
Other Provisions Part 5 Part 5 Part 5

Resources and Navigation

Index: Click to expand:

Overview

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Readers looking for significant differences between the 1992 ISDA and 2002 ISDA will find their socks resolutely still on by the time they get to the end of section 2. Other than some new Multiple Transaction Payment Netting wording designed to untangle a cat’s cradle of language that, in this commentator opinion, didn’t need to be there in the first place, the only significant change in Section 2 is that the Default Interest provision has been removed and now appears, in a gruesomely reorganised format, in Section 9(h) of the 2002 ISDA.

Section 2(a)

The 1987 ISDA, being concerned only with interest rates and currency exchange, does not contemplate delivery, as such. Delivery implies non-cash assets. Therefore portions of 2(a)(i) and 2(a)(ii) were augmented in the 1992 ISDA to cater for this contingency. The 1992 ISDA also added a condition precedent to the flawed asset clause (Section 2(a)(iii)) that no Early Termination Date had been designated.

Thereafter Section 2(a) is identical in the 1992 ISDA and the 2002 ISDA. However the subsidiary definition of Scheduled Settlement Date — a date in which any Section 2(a)(i) obligations fall due — is a new and frankly uncalled-for innovation in the 2002 ISDA.

We have a special page dedicated to Section 2(a)(iii), by the way. That is a brute, and one of the most litigationey parts of the Agreement.

Section 2(b)

But for the new definition of Scheduled Settlement Date in the 2002 ISDA, the 1992 ISDA text is formally the same.

Section 2(c)

The 2002 ISDA introduces the concept of Multiple Transaction Payment Netting, thereby correcting a curiously backward way of applying settlement netting.

Section 2(d)

Other than an “on or after the date on which” embellishment towards the end of the clause, exactly the same text in the 1992 ISDA and the 2002 ISDA.

Section 2(e)

Section 2(e), dealing with default interest, was removed in the 2002 ISDA, and replaced with a spikier, more fulsome Section 9(h) (Interest and Compensation).

A new and different Section 2(e) for the 2002 ISDA was almost revived after the global financial crisis as a tool for imposing a “use it or lose it” trigger on Section 2(a)(iii), but the moment passed. See Condition End Date for more information.

Summary

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Section 2(a) contains the fundamental payment and delivery obligations under the ISDA Master Agreement; the remainder of the section is a random collection of harmless and uncontroversial, or even unnecessary, bits of housekeeping such as how one changes settlement instructions (Section 2(b)), under what circumstances the parties can next down offsetting payments in the ordinary course (Section 2(c) — though, spoiler, whenever they both feel like it), and arrangements for where and when one grosses up for withholding tax is (Section 2(d)).

Section 2(a)

Section 2 contains the basic nuts and bolts of your obligations under the Transactions you execute. Pay or deliver what you’ve promised to pay or deliver, when you’ve promised to pay it or deliver it, and all will be well.

“Scheduled Settlement Date”

Though it doesn’t say so, at least in the 2002 ISDA the date on which you are obliged to pay or deliver an amount is the “Scheduled Settlement Date”. The ’02 definition only shows up only in Section 2(b) (relating to the time by which you must have notified any change of account details) and then, later, in the tax-related Termination Events (Tax Event and Tax Event Upon Merger). That said, “Scheduled Settlement Date” isn’t defined at all in the 1992 ISDA.

Section 2(a)(iii): the flawed asset provision

And then there’s the mighty flawed asset provision of Section 2(a)(iii). This won’t trouble ISDA negotiators on the way into a swap trading relationship — few enough people understand it sufficiently well to argue about it — but if, as it surely will, the great day of judgment should visit upon the financial markets again some time in the future, expect plenty of tasty argument, between highly-paid King’s Counsel who have spent exactly none of their careers considering derivative contracts, about what it means.

We have some thoughts on that topic, should you be interested, at Section 2(a)(iii).

Section 2(b)

ISDA’s crack drafting squad™ phoning it in, we are obliged to say, and not minded to make any better a job of it when given the opportunity to in 2002. On the other hand, in this time of constant change, it is reassuring to know some things just stay the same.

Section 2(c)

Section 2(c) is about “settlement” or “payment” netting — that is, the operational settlement of offsetting payments due on any day under the normal operation of the Agreement — and not the more drastic close-out netting, which is the Early Termination of all Transactions under Section 6.

If you want to know more about close-out netting, see Single Agreement and Early Termination Amount.

We wonder what the point of this section is, since settlement netting is a factual operational process for performing existing legal obligations, rather than any kind of variation of the parties’ rights and obligations. If you owe me ten pounds and I owe you ten pounds, and we agree to both keep our tenners, what cause of action arises? What loss is there? We have settled our existing obligations differently.

To be sure, if I pay you your tenner and you don’t pay me mine, that’s a different story — but then there is no settlement netting at all. The only time one would wish to enforce settlement netting it must, ipso facto, have happened, so what do you think you’re going to court to enforce?

Section 2(d)

Section 2(d) does the following:

  • Net obligation: if a counterparty suffers withholding it generally doesn’t have to gross up – it just remits tax to the revenue and pays net.
  • Refund obligation where tax subsequently levied: if a counterparty pays gross and subsequently is levied the tax, the recipient must refund an equivalent amount to the tax.
  • Indemnifiable Tax: the one exception is “Indemnifiable Tax” - this is tax arises as a result of the payer’s own status vis-à-vis the withholding jurisdiction. In that case the payer has to gross up, courtesy of a magnificent quintuple negative.

Stamp Tax reimbursement obligations are covered at 4(e), not here.

News from the pedantry front

Happy news, readers: we have a report from the front lines in the battle between substance and form. The JC asked no lesser a tax ninja than Dan Neidle — quietly, the JC is a bit of a fan — the following question:

In the statement, “X may make a deduction or withholding from any payment for or on account of any tax” is there any difference between “deducting” and “withholding”?

They seem to be exact synonyms.

Likewise, “for” vs. “on account of”?

We are pleased to report Mr N opined[1] replied:

I don’t think there’s a difference. Arguably it’s done for clarity, because people normally say “withholding tax” but technically there’s no such thing — it’s a deduction of income tax.

Which is good enough for me. So all of that “shall be entitled to make a deduction or withholding from any payment which it makes pursuant to this agreement for or on account of any Tax” can be scattered to the four winds. Henceforth the JC is going with:

X may deduct Tax from any payment it makes under this Agreement.

Premium content

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  • JC’s “nutshell” summary of the clause
  • Background reading and long-form essays
  • “Flawed Assets” generally
  • What is meant by “payments” and “deliveries”, related conceptual matters, especially as regards “delivery”
  • Modern electronic clearance as a practical control
  • Wry speculation about what should happen if a counterparty changes its address to somewhere stupid, just to annoy everyone.
  • Multiple Transaction Payment Netting — what’s that all about
  • Transaction and collateral flows
  • The curious timing lapse between transaction payments and collateral marks, and the not particularly good reason why they don’t net settle.

See also

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References