Transfer to Avoid Termination Event - ISDA Provision
2002 ISDA Master Agreement
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6(b)(ii) in all its glory
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Note in the 2002 ISDA there is no reference to Illegality (or for that matter Force Majeure, which did not exist under the 1992 ISDA but tends to treated rather like a special case of Illegality and therefore, we think, would have been included in this provision of the 1992 ISDA if it had existed ... if you see what I mean).
When the 2002 ISDA gets on to the topic of Illegality and Force Majeure it allows the Unaffected Party to cherry-pick which Affected Transactions it will terminate, but then seems almost immediately to regret it (see especially in Section 6(b)(iv)). Under the 1992 ISDA if you wanted to pull the trigger on any Termination Event, you had to pull all Affected Transactions. Under the 2002 ISDA it is only binary for the credit- and tax-related Termination Events.
Otherwise, but for one consequential change — 1992’s “excluding” became 2002’s “other than” — I mean, you can just imagine the barney they must have had in the drafting committee for that one, can’t you — the provisions are identical.
Once the Waiting Period expires, it will be a Termination Event entitling either party to terminate some or all Affected Transactions. Partial termination is permitted because the impact on an event on each Transaction may differ from case to case (eg transactions forming part of a structured finance deal like a repack or a CDO) might not be easily replaced, so the disadvantages of terminating may outweigh the advantages.
As far as branches are concerned this is relatively uncontroversial, especially if yours is a multi-branch ISDA Master Agreement. But there is an interesting philosophical question here, for, without an express pre-existing contractual right to do so, a party may not unilaterally transfer its obligations under a contract to someone else. That, being a novation, requires the other party’s consent. This is deep contractual lore, predating the First Men and even the Children of the Woods. So if the Affected Party identifies an affiliate to whom it can transfer its rights and obligations, the Non-affected Party still may withhold consent. True, it is obliged to provide consent if its policies permit but — well — y’know. Polices? Given the credit department’s proclivities for the fantastical, it’s a fairly safe bet they’ll be able to find something if they don’t feel up to it.
Note also that if an Non-Affected Party does elect partial termination, the Affected Party has the right to terminate some or all of the remaining Transactions: this prevents Non-Affected Parties being opportunistic. Heaven forfend.