Misrepresentation - 1992 ISDA Provision
1992 ISDA Master Agreement
Section 5(a)(iv) in full
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The purist’s objection is that, since a representation is a pre-contractual statement which induced the wronged party to enter the contract and (ergo) was not, and could not be, itself, a contractual term at all — its bolt was shot before minds met, so to speak — and as such, one’s remedy for misrepresentation ought to be to set aside the contract altogether — ab initio, as Latin lovers would say — voiding it on grounds of lack of consensus, and not suing for damages for breach of something which, by your own argument, never made it into the cold hard light of legal reality. The JC is nothing if not a purist. We feel that, as written, this provision is a mite misconceived.
Giving our friends at ISDA the benefit of the doubt we think ISDA’s crack drafting squad™ means “breach of warranty”, and were really just being loose with terminology. There again, unlike other, more fundamental obligations, misrepresentation as an Event of Default has neither a materiality threshold or the accomodation to the wrongdoer in the form of a grace period or even a warning notice, so perhaps not. Anyway.
This is where that mystifying Section 3(d) representation comes in.
The fabulous Section 3(d) representation, giving one’s counterparty the right to close out should any so-designated representations turn out not to be true. This is sure to occupy an inordinate amount of your negotiation time — in that it occupies any time at all — because you are as likely to be hit in the face by a live flying starfish in the driest part of the Gobi Desert as you are to close out an ISDA Master Agreement because your counterparty is late in preparing its annual accounts. But that’s a personal view and you may not rely on it.
The 3(d) representation, in the documents for delivery table in the Schedule, therefore covers only the accuracy and completeness of Specified Information and not (for example) whether Specified Information is delivered at all. For that, see Section 4(a) - Furnish Specified Information.
What’s that Section 3(d) representation malarkey?
- No show: one can fail to provide it, at all, in which case there is a Breach of Agreement, but be warned: the period before one can enforce such a failure, judged by the yardstick of modern financial contracts, is long enough for a whole kingdom of dinosaurs to evolve and be wiped out; or
- It’s cobblers: one can provide the Specified Information, on time, but it can be a total pile of horse ordure. Now, here is a trick for young players: if your Specified Information is, or turns out to be, false, you have no remedy unless you have designated that it is “subject to the Section 3(d) representation”. That is the one that promises it is accurate and not misleading.
Now you might ask what good an item of Specified Information can possibly be, if Section 3(d) didn’t apply and it could be just made up on the spot without fear of retribution — as a youngster, the JC certainly asked that question, and has repeated it over many years, and is yet to hear a good answer — but all we can presume is that in its tireless quest to cater for the unguessable predilections of the negotiating community, ISDA’s crack drafting squad™ left this preposterous option open just in case. It wouldn’t be the first time.