On May 29, the International Swaps and Derivatives Association (ISDA) issued calculation guidance for swap market participants seeking to determine if they might become subject in 2020 to mandatory initial margin requirements for swaps executed with swap dealers registered with the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. Under both the CFTC margin rules and the margin rules adopted by the prudential regulators for bank swap dealers, any “financial end user” (as defined in the margin rules) that is not already subject to mandatory initial margin for trades with swap dealers will become so on September 1, 2020, if it has “material swaps exposure.” An entity will have “material swaps exposure” for 2020 if the entity and its margin affiliates have a daily average aggregate notional amount (DAANA) of uncleared swaps, uncleared security-based swaps, foreign exchange forwards and foreign exchange swaps with all counterparties for June, July and August of this year that exceeds $8 billion, where such amount is calculated only for business days.
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On March 6, the International Swaps and Derivatives Association (ISDA) published for public comment some proposed amendments to the 2014 ISDA Credit Derivatives Definitions to address the issue of “narrowly tailored” or “manufactured” credit events. This type of credit event came under scrutiny by ISDA because of a few situations in which a company was apparently induced to default on some of its debt in return for advantageous financing, thus creating a credit event for purposes of credit derivatives referencing the company even though the company was not in actual economic distress.
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On December 10, the International Swaps and Derivatives Association (ISDA) introduced its latest market protocol, the 2018 Benchmark Supplement Protocol, which is designed to give market participants an efficient means to incorporate terms from the ISDA Benchmark Supplement into their existing and/or future derivative transactions.
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On July 30, the Association of Financial Markets in Europe (AFME) and the International Swaps and Derivatives Association, Inc. (ISDA) released a paper outlining the challenges UK and EU firms will face in relation to legacy over-the-counter (OTC) derivative contracts following the United Kingdom’s departure from the European Union (Brexit).
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On July 12, the International Swaps and Derivatives Association (ISDA) published a document entitled Consultation on Certain Aspects of Fallbacks for Derivatives Referencing GBP LIBOR, CHF LIBOR, JPY LIBOR, TIBOR, Euroyen TIBOR and BBSW (Bank Bill Swap Rate) that is intended to solicit market input on how the derivatives markets can best create alternatives to the interbank offered rates (IBORs) currently referenced in derivatives transactions. This is one of many current market initiatives that are responding to the likelihood that many IBORs will cease to be published or cease to have appropriate liquidity after 2021 and must therefore be replaced by new benchmark rates based on the overnight risk-free rates (RFRs) that are being adopted for each major currency.
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On January 8, the International Swaps and Derivatives Association, Inc. (ISDA) published a blog post providing insight into how it is preparing for the UK’s departure from the European Union and how this will impact the use of the industry-standard ISDA Master Agreement.
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On September 5, the regular settlement cycle for most securities transactions in the United States will change from three days (T+3) to two days (T+2). In order to assist derivative market participants that have existing equity derivative transactions with payment dates based on T+3, the International Swaps and Derivatives Association (ISDA) has developed the 2017 OTC Equity Derivatives T+2 Settlement Cycle Protocol (“T+2 Protocol”).
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As part of a global regulatory initiative, the United States, European Union, Canada, Switzerland, Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore and Australia have all adopted, or are in the process of adopting, rules (Margin Rules) that impose mandatory variation margin requirements on non-cleared swaps and, in some cases, non-cleared security-based swaps and FX derivatives (collectively, “Covered Trades”). Starting March 1, any entity that is a financial end user (FEU) will only be able to execute a Covered Trade with a US swap dealer if it has amended its swap documentation to comply with the requirements applicable to the dealer under the Margin Rules.
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On August 23, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission’s Division of Swap Dealer and Intermediary Oversight and Division of Clearing and Risk (the Divisions) issued a response to the International Swaps and Derivatives Association (ISDA), which had requested the CFTC to clarify whether a covered swap entity (CSE) is permitted to include security-based swaps within the same product set as swaps for the purpose of calculating initial margin for uncleared swaps.
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On May 5, the International Swaps and Derivatives Association, Inc. (ISDA) launched the ISDA Resolution Stay Jurisdictional Modular Protocol (Protocol), which is designed to assist market participants in complying with new regulations governing the cross-border enforceability of stays on contractual termination rights. The Protocol was developed in reaction to new regulatory changes, such as a framework established by the Financial Stability Board, whereby various national regulators are requiring certain banks in their jurisdiction to obtain counterparty consent for statutory stays on early termination rights, regardless of the contract’s governing law. These changes are designed to reduce the uncertainty regarding the cross-border enforceability of such stays.
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