2002 ISDA Master Agreement
A Jolly Contrarian owner’s manual™
4 in a Nutshell™
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4 in all its glory
Each party agrees with the other that, so long as either party has or may have any obligation under this Agreement or
under any Credit Support Document to which it is a party:―
4(a) Furnish Specified Information. It will deliver to the other party or, in certain cases under clause (iii) below, to such government or taxing authority as the other party reasonably directs:―
- (i) any forms, documents or certificates relating to taxation specified in the Schedule or any Confirmation;
- (ii) any other documents specified in the Schedule or any Confirmation; and
- (iii) upon reasonable demand by such other party, any form or document that may be required or reasonably requested in writing in order to allow such other party or its Credit Support Provider to make a payment under this Agreement or any applicable Credit Support Document without any deduction or withholding for or on account of any Tax or with such deduction or withholding at a reduced rate (so long as the completion, execution or submission of such form or document would not materially prejudice the legal or commercial position of the party in receipt of such demand), with any such form or document to be accurate and completed in a manner reasonably satisfactory to such other party and to be executed and to be delivered with any reasonably required certification, in each case by the date specified in the Schedule or such Confirmation or, if none is specified, as soon as reasonably practicable.
4(b) Maintain Authorisations. It will use all reasonable efforts to maintain in full force and effect all consents of any governmental or other authority that are required to be obtained by it with respect to this Agreement or any Credit Support Document to which it is a party and will use all reasonable efforts to obtain any that may become necessary in the future.
4(c) Comply With Laws. It will comply in all material respects with all applicable laws and orders to which it may be subject if failure so to comply would materially impair its ability to perform its obligations under this Agreement or any Credit Support Document to which it is a party.
4(d) Tax Agreement. It will give notice of any failure of a representation made by it under Section 3(f) to be accurate and true promptly upon learning of such failure.
4(e) Payment of Stamp Tax. Subject to Section 11, it will pay any Stamp Tax levied or imposed upon it or in respect of its execution or performance of this Agreement by a jurisdiction in which it is incorporated, organised, managed and controlled or considered to have its seat, or where an Office through which it is acting for the purpose of this Agreement is located (“Stamp Tax Jurisdiction”), and will indemnify the other party against any Stamp Tax levied or imposed upon the other party or in respect of the other party’s execution or performance of this Agreement by any such Stamp Tax Jurisdiction which is not also a Stamp Tax Jurisdiction with respect to the other party.
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4(a) Furnish Specified Information
4(b) Maintain Authorisations
4(c) Comply with Laws
4(d) Tax Agreement
4(e) Payment of Stamp Tax
A hodge-podge of “state the bleeding obvious” rules, breach of some of which justifies (eventual) close-out as a “breach of agreement” — flagrantly breaking the law, carelessly losing one’s regulatory authorisations — and random tax provisions and indemnities, which by and large don’t justify close-out.
Section 4(a): “Specified information” is not actually a defined term under the ISDA Master Agreement but merely a capitalised heading. In the JC’s book, capitalising a heading is borderline illiteracy, but ISDA’s crack drafting squad™ feels differently about it and we have learned which battles to pick. At any rate, the “Specified Information”, so called, is that stuff set out in the Schedule at Part 3. These are the documents that the parties agree to deliver to each other at certain times. Part 3 itemises what must be delivered, by whom, by when, and whether the Specified Information in question is covered by the Section 3(d) representation as to its accuracy and completeness. (What good would any information be that was not covered by that representation? We will let you amble over to the article on Section 3(d) to consider that.)
The Part 3 table will also totally bugger up the formatting in your document: it is a well-known fact that no ISDA negotiator on the face of the earth knows how to format a table in Microsoft Word.
Then again, nor does anyone else.
Section 4(b): The counterpart to the “Consents” representation of Section 3(a)(iv), only about the future, neatly illustrating the difference between a representation, being a declaration of fact about the state of the world in the present or past, and a covenant, being a solemn promise to do something about it in the future. Neither the past nor the future is, as regards governmental consents, tremendously controversial, or even interesting, so we do not propose to say anything more about it.
Section 4(c): Hardly controversial that one must obey the law, but note this apparently inoffensive covenant converts that general public obligation into a private civil one, with definitive commercial consequences to your counterparty, hence the couching of the language in terms of materiality (twice) and specific ability to perform obligations under the ISDA Master Agreement.
Section 4(d): These reps allow the other party to pay without deduction for certain taxes. This covenant puts the onus on the payee (beneficiary) to ensure the other party (who is subject to the authority of the taxing authority in question) is not erroneously passing through moneys that it should withhold and for which it will be personally liable to account to the tax authority. It also gives the aggrieved payer a direct right of action to claim those amounts back off the forgetful payee.
Section 4(e): Basically, if there is any Stamp Tax imposed because of my existence or residence in a certain jurisdiction, whether imposed on me or you, I’ll pay it, unless it would have been imposed on you too. If we’re both in the same Stamp Tax Jurisdiction, the liability lies where it falls.
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- The JC’s famous Nutshell™ summary of this clause
- The slooow default of not providing documents for delivery
- “Covered by the Section 3(d) Representation”: vitally necessary ninja negotiator stuff, or ... ?
- Legal opinions and financial statements? They can be excluded, can’t they — no? — oh, help, JC!