Buy/Sell Back Transaction - GMRA Provision
2000 Global Master Repurchase Agreement
Paragraph 1(b) in full
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Difference between Repurchase Transaction and a Buy/Sell Back Transaction
The official explanation
According to ICMA’s helpful website economically, repos and sell/buy-backs both behave like secured loans; legally both amount to a sale and later repurchase of securities. A repurchase agreement is always a written contract; a sell/buy-back need not be.
- Undocumented sell/buy-backs: The sale and repurchase legs of an undocumented sell/buy-back are considered as separate contracts. Since there is no contract between times:
- The parties cannot call margin on each other for market movements between the transactions
- Netting is less certain.
- Documented sell/buy-backs: There are operational differences between repos and documented sell backs:
The Jolly Contrarian’s explanation
Unless you have a taste for paradox (and who, in our shadow-flecked modern world doesn’t?) there’s no difference between a repo and a sell/buy-back, and even seasoned industry professionals get fidgety and make their excuses to pop off to the bathroom if you ask them to give one. To the sentiment that buy/sell-backs are undocumented, the lie is somewhat given to that by the fact that the Global Master Repurchase Agreement expressly incoporates the Buy/Sell Back Transaction as a defined term with its own freaking Annex, meticulously negotiated into the master by negotiators the world over.
And a reverse Repo is?
You don’t hear much talk about a “reverse Buy/Sell Back Transaction”, but probably only because this sounds, on its face, idiotic, rather than merely idiotic if you spend the idlest moment thinking about it and the one thing we know financial services professionals like less than idly thinking about things is looking idiotic without having, even idly, to think about things.