1992 ISDA Master Agreement
A Jolly Contrarian owner’s manual™
2(c) in a Nutshell™
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2(c) in all its glory
. If on any date amounts would otherwise be payable:—
- (i) in the same currency; and
- (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 2(c)(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.
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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.
Our chief contrarian wonders what on earth 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 in different way.
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 actually happened, so what do you think you’re going to court to enforce?
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- The JC’s famous Nutshell™ summary of this clause
- More about Multiple Transaction Payment Netting
- Transaction flows and collateral flows
- Interaction with Section 2(a)(iii)