Crypto is booming again. Are you a bull? In which case you might like to purchase a derivative to gain a leveraged long exposure (a call option or long forward/future). Are you a bear? In which case you might like to purchase a derivative to hedge your downside (a put option or short forward/future). All of these are now possible in private and public crypto derivative markets. Either way, you might be curious to understand more about these fascinating, nascent markets.

You are in luck because the Mayer Brown team have written a practice note for Practical Law, giving an overview of crypto derivatives – the forms they typically take and how they are documented. A link can be found below. Please contact us if you would like a pdf copy of the note, or would like to discuss crypto derivatives in more detail.

Crypto Derivatives: Overview | Practical Law (thomsonreuters.com)

In Banca Nazionale del Lavoro, Commerzbank and Dexia Credit Local v Provincia di Catanzaro [2023] EWHC 3309 (Comm), the High Court granted summary judgment in favour of the joint bank claimants against the Italian public authority, Provincia di Catanzaro (“Catanzaro”). This is the latest in a succession of cases in which Italian local authorities have relied on Italian law arguments as to capacity, authority and/or validity as a basis for arguments that English-law governed derivative transactions on standard ISDA terms and subject to exclusive English jurisdiction, to which they had agreed, are invalid.

Continue Reading Respect my authority: considering capacity to enter into swaps

Despite some counter-revolutionary forces, especially in the US, it seems likely that environmental, social and governance (ESG) concerns will continue to be increasingly significant factors in the structuring and execution of derivative transactions. We have covered the growth of the ESG derivative market (sometimes referred to as sustainability-linked derivatives) on the Long and Short of It previously.


Sustainability-linked derivatives (SLDs) are derivatives which embed an ESG-linked cash-flow in a traditional derivative instrument (such as an increase in spread linked to a failure by a counterparty to meet an ESG target). Unlike in other ESG financial products, the use of proceeds of a sustainability-linked derivative is not usually controlled (although sometimes counterparties may agree that any increased spread paid as a result of a failure to meet an ESG target will be applied for a sustainable purpose). Typically, SLDs are documented under an ISDA Master Agreement, and the ESG-related terms are contained in the trade confirmation.

In previous surveys, ISDA has reported common themes in ESG related provisions in SLDs, but noted a lack of standardization, which may hold back the growth of this important market and detrimentally affect the efficiency of trading in SLDs. Accordingly, ISDA has recently launched a clause library for SLDs, designed to provide standardized drafting options for market participants to use when negotiating SLD transactions with counterparties. The aim is to improve efficiency in the market but maintaining flexibility for SLDs to be tailored to meet firms’ sustainability and financing needs.   

The ISDA SLD Clause Library (which can be found on the ISDA MyLibrary platform) provides standard-form drafting options in several key areas, including:

  • KPI compliance: provisions stipulating what evidence of sustainability performance must be delivered and when. Typically, parties will assess their KPIs in respect of the relevant observation period to determine a KPI achievement score. This score will be verified by a third-party verification agent. KPI compliance certificates will be delivered for monitoring purposes (or alternatively parties can refer to sustainability disclosures on their websites);
  • Sustainability consequences: mechanisms to adjust cashflows depending on whether relevant ESG targets have been met, depending on the type of transaction/definitions incorporated;
  • Disruption/review: options available to counterparties following disruption and review events;
  • Disputes: there are suggested provisions for resolving disputes in relation to the validity of the facts contained in a KPI compliance certificate or supporting documentation. The provisions are not intended to replace any other disputes provisions that the parties have agreed more generally for the transaction or their trading relationship. If the parties fail to resolve a dispute, a third party may adjudicate, the relevant sustainability consequence will not occur or the transaction could be de-linked from the sustainability provisions.

Please speak to your Mayer Brown contact if you would like assistance with SLD transactions.

Financial products that provide structured returns (exposure to a range of asset classes while attempting to mitigate credit or other risks) such as separately managed accounts, actively managed certificates and related products, are becoming increasingly popular. These products may be issued in varying formats that may subject to different regulatory frameworks. Some products may be issued through special purpose entities or fund vehicles, and some may be subject to active management or be designed to replicate the returns associated with an actively managed strategy. In Europe and jurisdictions outside of the United States, these products may be subject to a number of regulations that differ from the regulations applicable to similar vehicles in the United States.

Join us for an online discussion with Vestr on the growth of the market in Europe, and a conversation on the legal and regulatory considerations applicable to sales of such products into the United States and/or to U.S. persons, including those arising under the U.S. securities and other laws.

Register here.

United States
9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m. EST
8:00 a.m. – 9:00 a.m. CST
7:00 a.m. – 8:00 a.m. MST
6:00 a.m. – 7:00 a.m. PST
Europe
2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. GMT
3:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. CET
 

Effectively delivering notices under commercial contracts is not as straight-forward as it maybe ought to be, with different contracts requiring different methods of delivery, different content and different timelines. Often these boiler-plate provisions are not treated with the same vigour as the commercial provisions of a contract in negotiations, meaning they can be left containing ambiguity. And this ambiguity will also often come to light at very worrisome times, like where a default notice is being delivered to close out transactions.

Continue Reading On Notice: developments in delivery of notices under the ISDA Master Agreement

The underlying rationale for emissions trading is that derivatives could save the planet or, at the least, could be an influence for good.

Emissions trading is an asset class which is purely a creature of regulation, and that leads to many intricacies, nuances, and traps for the unwary, which are not found in other types of product or derivative. Interest in emissions for trading, and as underlying assets for OTC derivatives and structured products, is on the rise again. Please join a Mayer Brown webinar where Mayer Brown partners, Edmund Parker (Derivatives & Structured Products) and Tim Baines (Environment & Climate Change), based in London, and Matt Kluchenek, based in the US, will discuss key issues including:

  • The underlying asset: relevance of the Paris Agreement; the COPs; and EU, UK and US climate change action initiatives;
  • Emissions trading and crediting regimes, including the voluntary market;
  • ISDA, EFET, and IETA documentation;
  • Regulatory treatment of emissions products in the US (i.e., as Swaps, Futures or Forwards).

Register here.

Key Event Information

Date & Time
Tuesday, September 26, 2023
11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. EDT
Europe
4:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. BST
5:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. CEST

Whether to address funding diversification objectives, liquidity management plans, risk-based capital concerns, or other goals, many issuers consider establishing repackaging programs. These programs can take many forms but generally raise a number of structuring and legal considerations that should be addressed early in the planning process. Join our experts in an upcoming webinar discussion of repack programs where, in addition to providing some background on market developments, we will discuss the following:

  • Compartment/multi-series vehicles or series LLCs and choice of jurisdiction,
  • Rule 144A and Regulation S programs and investor qualifications,
  • Investment Company Act and commodity pool issues,
  • US and European risk retention requirements in capital relief transactions,
  • Emissions Certificates repackagings,
  • Addressing the Volcker Rule, and
  • Swap and other derivatives related considerations.

Key Event Information

Date & Time
Thursday, September 7, 2023
10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. EDT

Register here.

In the midst of multiple NAIC initiatives aimed at radically changing the regulatory treatment of insurer investments, the chair of the NAIC’s Financial Condition (E) Committee released a strongly-worded memo on August 3 which looks to be a game-changer that could well lead to a major change of direction for those initiatives. This unexpected and welcome development will be a major focus of discussion at the NAIC Summer National Meeting in Seattle from August 12-16. During an upcoming session, Mayer Brown partners will discuss the holistic framework for regulation of insurer investments outlined in the “E” Committee chair’s memo, will report on the reaction to it at the National Meeting, and will address some of the potential impacts on insurers and capital markets.

Key Event Information

Tuesday, August 22, 2023
4:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. EDT

Register here.

Today, Friday 30 June 2023, is a momentous day in financial markets, being the last day on which rates based on the London Interbank Offered Rates (LIBORs) will be published. LIBOR is a key reference rate that has underpinned hundreds of trillions of dollars of assets over the last five decades.

Continue Reading End of the road for LIBOR

Banking organizations looking to reduce the amount of risk-based regulatory capital required to support residential mortgage loan portfolios can use synthetic securitization to convert the capital treatment of their exposures from wholesale or retail exposures to securitization exposures. In a new Legal Update, we discuss how regulatory capital requirements impact banking organizations that hold portfolios of residential mortgage loans and how synthetic securitization can help mitigate the capital charge associated with these portfolios.

Read the full update here.