Accuracy of Specified Information - ISDA Provision
2002 ISDA Master Agreement
Section 3(d) in full
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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 squadTM left this preposterous option open just in case. It wouldn’t be the first time.
Audited financial statements
Your adversary may try to crowbar in something like this, to satisfy her yen to make a difference and please her clients with her acumen and commercial fortitude:
- “or, in the case of financial information, a fair representation of the financial condition of the relevant party, provided that the other party may rely on any such information when determining whether an Additional Termination Event has occurred.”
This is predicated on the following reasoning: “In publishing the audit, the auditor itself is not making any greater representation than that the statements are a fair representation of the financial conditions. I’m no accountant. I didn’t even write the stupid audit. How am I supposed to know? Why should I give any representation about the content of the audit at all, let alone a stronger representation than the expert? I am not underwriting the work of some bean-counter at Deloitte.”
Fair questions, but they misapprehend what is being asked. The riposte is this: The Part 3 information you must supply is “Party B’s annual audited financial statements.” So the representation we are after is that you have handed over a fair, accurate and complete copy of those audited statements, not that the statements themselves, as prepared by the auditor, are necessarily fair, accurate and complete. To get that comfort, we have the auditor’s own representation of the company’s financial condition, and we don’t need yours.
For details freaks
Not providing documents for delivery is an Event of Default ... eventually
- By dint of Section 4(a) you agree to furnish each other Specified Information set out in Part 3 of the Schedule.
- By dint of Section 5(a)(ii) if you don’t then that can be a Breach of Agreement Event of Default (Section 5(a)(ii)). Be warned: you must pursue a tortured chain of nested double negatives and carefully parse the interplay between Sections 4(a) and 5(a)(ii) to grasp this, but it is true.
- But, Section 5(a)(ii) imposes a thirty freaking day grace period following notice before a Breach of Agreement counts as an Event of Default allowing termination. (A Failure to Pay or Deliver is excluded from that definition, by the way, because it has its own EOD with a much tighter grace period).
- So if you need a document “furnished” urgently and can’t wait a month for it (you might not, if you are a credit officer and it is a monthly NAV statement, for example) then you must upgrade a simple 5(a)(ii) Breach of Agreement to a full-blown Additional Termination Event.
- Sigh. Sending.