Offices; Multibranch Parties - ISDA Provision

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2002 ISDA Master Agreement

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10. Offices; Multibranch Parties
10(a) If Section 10(a) is specified in the Schedule as applying, each party that enters into a Transaction through an Office other than its head or home office represents to and agrees with the other party that, notwithstanding the place of booking or its jurisdiction of incorporation or organisation, its obligations are the same in terms of recourse against it as if it had entered into the Transaction through its head or home office, except that a party will not have recourse to the head or home office of the other party in respect of any payment or delivery deferred pursuant to Section 5(d) for so long as the payment or delivery is so deferred. This representation and agreement will be deemed to be repeated by each party on each date on which the parties enter into a Transaction.
10(b) If a party is specified as a Multibranch Party in the Schedule, such party may, subject to clause (c) below, enter into a Transaction through, book a Transaction in and make and receive payments and deliveries with respect to a Transaction through any Office listed in respect of that party in the Schedule (but not any other Office unless otherwise agreed by the parties in writing).
10(c) The Office through which a party enters into a Transaction will be the Office specified for that party in the relevant Confirmation or as otherwise agreed by the parties in writing, and, if an Office for that party is not specified in the Confirmation or otherwise agreed by the parties in writing, its head or home office. Unless the parties otherwise agree in writing, the Office through which a party enters into a Transaction will also be the Office in which it books the Transaction and the Office through which it makes and receives payments and deliveries with respect to the Transaction. Subject to Section 6(b)(ii), neither party may change the Office in which it books the Transaction or the Office through which it makes and receives payments or deliveries with respect to a Transaction without the prior written consent of the other party.

Related agreements and comparisons

Click here for the text of Section 10 in the 1992 ISDA
Click to compare this section in the 1992 ISDA and 2002 ISDA.

Resources and Navigation

This provision in the 1992

Resources Wikitext | Nutshell wikitext | 1992 ISDA wikitext | 2002 vs 1992 Showdown | 2006 ISDA Definitions | 2008 ISDA | JC’s ISDA code project
Navigation Preamble | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14
Events of Default: 5(a)(i) Failure to Pay or Deliver5(a)(ii) Breach of Agreement5(a)(iii) Credit Support Default5(a)(iv) Misrepresentation5(a)(v) Default Under Specified Transaction5(a)(vi) Cross Default5(a)(vii) Bankruptcy5(a)(viii) Merger without Assumption
Termination Events: 5(b)(i) Illegality5(b)(ii) Force Majeure Event5(b)(iii) Tax Event5(b)(iv) Tax Event Upon Merger5(b)(v) Credit Event Upon Merger5(b)(vi) Additional Termination Event

Index: Click to expand:



A bit of development from the 1992 ISDA to cater for the more fiddlesome nature of the 2002 ISDA (in particular the effect of Illegalities and Force Majeure events that affect some branches of a Multibranch Party but not others). See the comparison in the panel



Section 10 of the ISDA Master Agreement allows parties to specify whether they are Multibranch Parties. Electing “Multibranch Party” status allows you to transact out of the named branches of the same legal entity.

Section 10(a)

A seldom-regarded but basically potty representation thrown in to allow parties to represent that if it trades through a minor branch, recourse against it will be no different from the recourse it would have had it traded though its head office.

Law students of all vintages will remember from Company Law class that this is necessarily the case: this is what the legal fiction of the “corporate legal personality” is designed to do: create a new, unitary “person” who is liable at law, can sue and be sued, live, love and survive independently of its stakeholders, for anything done in the name of that company — as long as intra vires and properly authorised by the company, regardless of where and through whose agency it is done.

Now it may be the case that certain primitive jurisdictions, for certain primitive entity types, this is not the case but, if so, the answer ought to be do not trade with entities like that or, if you really must, do not trade with entities like that out of branches that won’t bind the legal entity.

There is a chicken-and-egg problem here: if you do, then Q.E.D. the entity is not bound. Yes, you may be left with an action for damages (in tort — there is no contract, remember) for misrepresentation, but we think the better approach is for your onboarding and credit sanctioning teams to do their due diligence before you start trading, and avoid trading with entities like this.

Section 10(b)

The one place where all this lofty talk about “legal personhood” and “it not mattering a jot which part of a corporate organisation makes the promise to be bound by the contract” falls about is when it comes to taxation. Taxation authorities don’t care about holistic entities, only the bits of them that are in their jurisdiction and over whose income and outgoing they have power to tax. so while it might not matter to you or your counterparty which bit of your organisation “did the deed” or “reaped its rewards”, it will matter to their respective tax departments, and the taxing authorities to which appendages of the entity are beholden. Yes, the net tax burden on the whole entity is the same, but one still tries to “optimise” that burden as best one can, by arranging things to be as far beyond the reach of nefarious excise authorities as can be plausibly arranged. Don’t @ me folks: I don’t make the rules.

Section 10(c)

Again, a provision largely there to keep the respective tax departments happy. Each books the transaction depending on certain tax representations from the other; if the other then changes Offices or some such thing in a way that upsets that careful tax analysis, well —

Simple: just don’t fiddle with Offices and Branches post execution. Why would you? (Unless to correct an error you made on the Trade Date ... )

Premium content

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  • The JC’s famous Nutshell summary of this clause
  • More on taxation
  • Must you complete onboarding in each jurisdiction though?
  • Netting: could the validity of close-out netting depend on the branch through which the entity transacts?

See also