Difference between revisions of "Permitted disclosures - Confi Provision"
|(One intermediate revision by the same user not shown)|
|Line 1:||Line 1:|
Revision as of 05:27, 31 July 2020
Resources: Confidentiality agreement | Confi — Led Zeppelin style | GDPR | Copyright vs. confidence | |
Obligation to notify provider of regulator requests
This is a common and oft accepted provision: where you are obliged to disclose to a regulator, you must first notify the provider of the information, to allow them to make representations, or try to get an injunction, to prevent disclosure. However excitable your counterparty is on this point — and junior lawyers at real money firms can be quite exciteable — resist this. It is potty. When you step through it, it is hard to see any real-world cases where your counterparty could or would actually try to stop disclosure to a regulator, and plenty of benign circumstances where disclosure is a matter of course. To wit:
- Trade/transaction reporting: Brokers will be obliged to disclose a lot of trade-specific client information to regulators and exchanges every day on account of MiFID/EMIR trade and trade reporting. We are not going to repeatedly tell the client that.
- Ad-hoc general information requests: Outside trade/transaction reporting, when regulators ask for ad hoc information from a broker, it is usually for a wide-ranging data set across whole trading books and sectors, covering multiple clients. It is unrealistic to accept Brokers to monitor which clients within that population have confis, much less a right to be specifically notified beforehand. Nor will they want to go to the trouble of getting all those consents. Why? BECAUSE LIFE IS TOO SHORT.
- Ad-hoc client-specific information requests: Where a regulator specifically asks for data on a single client, it is likely the regulator will also have made equivalent disclosure requests to the client at the same time (or copied the client on those requests to the broker) — if the request is benign — and if it has not, the investigation is likely to be one where the regulator would not allow the broker to alert the client anyway, and indeed where such notification could be a criminal offence (market abuse, etc). Even where the notification clause carves out where “notification being illegal” this leaves the empty set of circumstances where the broker would have to give info about a specific client and the client doesn’t, but was entitled to know about it.
- Commercial sensitivity: Lastly, the legitimate point of a confi is to respect the client’s legitimate interest in protecting the commercial value of non-public information. It is not to keep silent about behavioural turpitude; indeed a broker’s regulatory obligations may oblige it to report, without invitation, bad acts it observes, whether the client likes it or not and whether there is a confidentiality agreement or not. Generally, client information a broker holds is not legally or professionally privileged. Since, by definition, passing information to a regulator should not prejudice the commercial value of that information, it is hard to see when client would have a valid reason to seek injunctive relief to prevent disclosure of information to a competent regulator.
And that is borne out by the JC’s tawdry personal experience (anecdotal though it may be, it does span 22 years and three different investment banks): the JC has never ever, ever seen anyone even try to get an injunction to stop disclosure of confidential information to a regulator.
Regulatory disclosure and the definition of confidential information
Don’t make the schoolboy error of excluding from the definition of “confidential information” “information required to be disclosed to regulators or government authorities”. Now to be sure this is a legitimate exception to a fellow’s general covenant not disclose confidential information to anyone — but it shouldn’t disqualify the information from being “confidential information” altogether. If it did, once you were required to give any information to a regulator, it would suddenly be open season and you could tell everyone about it. Not the intention.