Representations - ISDA Provision
2002 ISDA Master Agreement
Section 3 in a Nutshell™
Full text of Section 3
Related agreements and comparisons
Content and comparisons
3(a) Basic Representations
3(b) Absence of certain events
3(c) Absence of litigation
3(d) Accuracy of Specified Information
3(e) Payer Tax Representations
3(f) Payee Tax Representations
3(g) No Agency (2002 ISDA only)
In the case of Additional Representations this can be somewhat drastic, especially if your Additional Representation is Transaction-specific (for example India, China and Taiwan investor status reps for equity derivatives), and it would seem churlish to close out a whole ISDA Master Agreement on their account.
Then again, show me a swap dealer who would detonate an entire swap trading relationship with a solvent counterparty and I’ll show you a moron — but, as we know, opposing legal eagles operate on the presumption that everyone else is a moron and thus tend to be immune to such grand rhetorical flourishes, and regard such appeals to basic common sense as precisely such flourishes, so don’t expect that argument to carry the day, however practically true it may be.
Instead, expect to encounter leagues of agonising drafting, but there are easier roads to travel. Try:
- These representations will be Additional Representations, except that where they prove to be materially incorrect or misleading when made or repeated it will not be an Event of Default but an Additional Termination Event, where the Transactions in question are the Affected Transactions and the misrepresenting party is the sole Affected Party.
On representations and warranties generally
A representation is a statement of present or historical fact made by one person to another outside the bounds of a contract that induces that other person to enter a contract. By its nature, a representation is therefore not a term of the contract itself — it cannot be; it was made before the contract came about; it is an egg to the contract’s chicken — although that won’t stop Legal riddling your contract with representations and, usually, co-branding them as warranties for good measure. A false representation may entitle an innocent to claim under the Misrepresentation Act 1967 and rescind its contract, or claim damages for negligent misstatement in tort.
Being founded on the tortious action on negligent misstatement, one of the ingredients of an actionable misrepresentation is that the representer somehow fell short of her duty of care: the simple fact that the representation was false might not be not enough if she can’t cannot reasonably have known it was false. This feels a more significant distinction than it is: tort governs situations where the parties, being randoms, have not had the opportunity to document their duties to one another, so the law steps in to help. Where they have, through the medium of contract, the law says, “you don’t need my clever appeals to the judgment of prudent people on public transport in south London to work out how you must treat each other, because you have worked it out for yourselves.”
Where the parties have written down their respective duties, but they still appeal to a tortious standard — which is what they are doing by writing “representations” into a contract — they are admitting to confusion between the laws of tort and contract. Here the fellow on the Clapham omnibus would surely say that the abstract duty of care maps exactly on to what the parties have voluntarily agreed. Why would it be any different? To be “negligent” under a contract is surely to breach it; no more and no less.
A warranty is a statement of a present or historical fact made as a term of a contract. If a warrantor breaches its warranty the injured party might claim damages for the breach of contract and sue for damages, but cannot rescind it altogether. To set aside the contract as if it never happened — to void it, ab initio — you would need to prove a misrepresentation from someone before the contract, that induced you to enter it.
Since a warranty is creature of contract, one’s liability for its failure is absolute: if a warranty fails, you’re in the schtook: it is no defence that you could not reasonably have known that the matters warranted were not true, or that some mendacious interloper (other than the other party to the contract) has intervened to defeat your best intentions unless that kind of conditionality is written into the contract. This is the appeal of a written contract: the parties can write down with infinite, tedious precision, what they mean to say, and what they say they mean, one-hundred per cent.
How material is “material”?
What is a “material” respect? This is key, since some of the general representations (Consents, for example) are quite wide, and in this world of regulatory perma-change, the risk that one is, for example, outside technical compliance with a new regulation as it is implemented, notwithstanding a competent regulator’s informal indication that no action will be taken if you get your skates on and remediate quickly — it happened for MiFID II as thousands of financial firms raced headlong at the brick wall of that 3 January 2017 implementation date but it seems reasonable to suppose that materially must somehow impact your ability to carry out your obligations under a Transaction or the ISDA Master Agreement.
The representations set out in Section 3 are, of course, the boring ones. The Additional Representations that are pulled in here and have the same effect on the Events of Default as do these boring ones — over which the parties will tortuously argue during the negotiation process, are lot more interesting — literary, really — reflecting as they do the dark paranoia lurking deep in the heart of your favourite credit officer.
And what of this idea that one not only represents and warrants as of the moment one inks the paper, but also is deemed to repeat itself an the execution of each trade, on any day, or whenever a butterfly flaps its wings on Fitzcarraldo’s steamer? Do we think it works? Do we? Given how practically useless even explicit representations are, does it really matter?
And, having given it, how are you supposed to stop a continuing representation once it has marched off into the unknowable future, like one of those conjured brooms from the Sorcerer’s Apprentice? If you don’t stop it, what then? This may seem fanciful to you, but what are buyside lawyers if not creatures of unlimited, gruesome imagination? Are their dreams not full with flights of just this sort of fancy? Rest assured that, as you do, they will be chewing their nails to the quick in insomniac fever about this precise contingency.
For details freaks
Representations by investment managers and agents
There are those credit officers who will ask for representations from people who are not, strictly speaking, parties to the contract at all, even though they have a tremendous bearing on how it plays out. These are the investment managers — investment advisors and hedge fund managers who act as agents on behalf of docile espievie funds in whom their investors buy shares.
You might, for example, want your manager to represent that it is a Qualified Professional Asset Manager able to represent the retirement aspirations of teachers in the Wisconsin Education board or some such thing. Such a QPAM’s declarations can’t really be Additional Representations per se, since the investment manager isn’t Party B at all, but if these are given in writing, then can be documents for delivery to which Section 3(d) can be applied. But if losing QPAM status is an Additional Termination Event for Affected Transactions, then query what value there is in having one more cudgel to beat a poor, innocent espievie that didn’t do anything wrong in the first place.