Threshold Amount - ISDA Provision
2002 ISDA Master Agreement
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Not to be confused with Threshold in the 1995 English Law CSA and all its varieties — being the amount of gross Exposure beyond which one must start posting variation margin — the Threshold Amount is a level relevant to the calculation of the Cross Default Event of Default - it is the aggregate principle amount of Specified Indebtedness one must have defaulted on to permit one’s counterparty to close you out.
The Threshold Amount is a key feature of the Cross Default Event of Default in the ISDA Master Agreement. It is the level over which accumulated indebtedness defaults comprise an Event of Default. It is usually defined as a cash amount or a percentage of shareholder funds, or both, in which case — schoolboy error hazard alert — be careful to say whether it is the greater or lesser of the two.
Because of the snowball effect that a cross default clause can have on a party’s insolvency it should be big: like, life-threateningly big — because the consequences of triggering a Cross Default are dire, and it may create its own chain reaction beyond the ISDA itself. So expect to see, against a swap dealer, 2-3% of shareholder funds, or sums in the order of hundreds of millions of dollars. For end users the number may well be a lot lower (especially for thinly capitalised investment vehicles like funds — like, ten million dollars or so — and, of course, will key off NAV, not shareholder funds.
- The JC’s famous Nutshell™ summary of this clause
- The cherrypickability of individual bits of indebtedness to get you over the line and why this means you should not include derivatives