Hedging your bet-rate of interest risk in financing transactions

Hedging your bet-rate of interest risk in financing transactions

Hedging your bet-rate of interest risk in financing transactions


The expression that “a rising tide lifts all boats” might be simple to disregard in the current “low tide” of great interest rates, but investors and firms that fail with an appropriate hedge enter in place risk being flooded by unanticipated financing costs because the tide inevitably begins to rise. The Fed seems poised to carry on raising its federal funds rate target in 2016. Although a lot of factors influence lengthy-term rates, increases in a nutshell-term rates make material increases in lengthy-term rates much more likely. Greater lengthy-term rates consequently could expose borrowers in a variety of areas to considerable difficulty.

Liberal underwriting standards along with a proliferation of lenders have permitted equity investors, for instance, to invest in large sums and also to refinance in their convenience. Corporate debt has additionally elevated dramatically within the seven years because the economic crisis. Effectively managing rate of interest risk is going to be critical to a lot of market participants within the several weeks ahead.

One of the greatest ways that borrowers can mitigate rate of interest risk in financing transactions is by using rate of interest hedge contracts, which offer both borrowers and lenders with protection against escalating rates. This short article raises and addresses several key issues, from both loan provider and customer perspectives, such as the fundamental kinds of hedging contracts, the Dodd-Frank limitations on qualified contract participants, security and collateral factors, including Dodd- Frank clearing and margin needs, and personal bankruptcy and offset issues.

Fundamental kinds of hedge contracts

The 3 most typical kinds of rate of interest hedge goods are rate caps, rate of interest swaps and collars. The next sentences let you know that a customer could use these items to hedge rate of interest exposure on the floating rate loan.

Inside a rate cap transaction, a customer and hedge provider accept a maximum rate of interest, referred to as “cap rate” or “strike rate.” When the floating rate of interest index managing the underlying loan (the borrowed funds index rate), typically LIBOR, climbs above this strike rate, the hedge provider pays the customer the surplus. As a swap, the customer pays the hedge provider a 1-time fee once the agreement is signed. As a result the customer receives protection against any subsequent rise in LIBOR over the cap rate without surrendering the advantages of any subsequent declines in rates.

A collar transaction effectively sets both an optimum and minimum rate of interest. When the loan index rate remains between your maximum and minimum rates specified by the collar (known as the cap strike and floor strike, correspondingly), the customer neither makes nor receives payments underneath the collar. When the loan index rate increases over the cap strike rate, the hedge provider pays the main difference towards the customer. On the other hand, when the floating rate of interest dips underneath the floor strike rate, the customer pays the main difference towards the hedge provider. The customer is therefore uncovered simply to the limited selection of rate of interest fluctuations between your cap strike and floor strike rates, and it is protected in case rates go above the cap strike rate. Additionally, even though the customer maintains a few of the potential benefit connected with declining rates of interest, the customer surrenders the savings that will accrue if rates would dip underneath the floor strike rate. In return for protection within the high rate scenarios, the customer might be needed to pay for the hedge provider an upfront fee, which may typically be less than the charge needed within rate cap. In some instances the charge might be waived altogether, if the need for potential payments towards the hedge provider within the low rate scenario adequately compensates the hedge provider because of its potential costs within the high rate scenario.

Qualified contract participants

The Commodity Exchange Act, as amended through the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (Dodd-Frank)1, mandates that any party to some swap be an “eligible contract participant” (ECP), unless of course the swap is joined into with an exchange (known as derivatives contract market) registered using the Commodity Futures Buying and selling Commission (CFTC). No such exchange continues to be registered up to now, and therefore it’s presently illegal for just about any non-ECP to become a party to some swap or perhaps to behave as a guarantor or credit support provider of swap payments.

The Commodity Exchange Act defines the word “swap” quite broadly-the word includes the 3 kinds of hedges described above. Generally, a business is definitely an ECP whether it has total assets with a minimum of $10,000,000, or internet worth with a minimum of $a million when the entity is hedging commercial risk (among other possible qualifications).

This restriction on non-ECP entities is broadly construed to preclude enforcement of the swap if your non-ECP is really a direct party towards the swap, and enforcement of the guarantee or pledge supporting swap cash flows from the non-ECP guarantor or pledgor. Thus, it is important for borrowers and lenders to make sure that all parties towards the swap, and every credit support provider of swap cash flows, is definitely an ECP at that time the swap or credit support arrangement is joined into.

In lots of financings, particularly in which the swap provider is identical entity as, or perhaps is a joint venture partner of, the loan provider, the borrower’s obligations to create ongoing swap payments are incorporated within the waterfall provisions within the loan agreement. Such situation, the loan provider should conduct research to find out if the borrowers, guarantors or pledgors don’t become qualified as ECPs. If there’s any question regarding an entity’s ECP status, the loan provider should think about additional measures to make sure that non-ECP entities don’t participate like a guarantor or pledgor. For instance, each guarantor or pledgor should create a representation that it’s an ECP, which representation ought to be considered repeated anytime a swap or guarantee/pledge is joined into.2 The parties may consider contractually excluding any non-ECP entity from the phrase guarantor or pledgor regarding swap obligations. Borrowers may favor this method. The Borrowed Funds Syndications and Buying and selling Association (LSTA) has printed model language for such conditions (LSTA Market Advisory).3 Another approach, more prone to be popular with lenders, is always to require certain customer entities that become qualified as ECPs to supply “keepwell” support to the non-ECP entities, the aim being to therefore convert the non- ECPs into ECPs. The LSTA Market Advisory contains model “keepwell” language too. Additionally, the loan provider should make sure that any non-swap guaranty it obtains regarding the its financing is correctly drafted to exclude any guarantee of swap obligations by non-ECP guarantor.

Counterparty risk

The outline above of typical hedge contracts might be read to point out that using these contracts would get rid of the borrower’s rate of interest risk. A far more accurate view is the customer getting into a hedge agreement has just exchanged rate of interest risk for an additional risk: counterparty risk. The borrower’s counterparty risk may be the risk the counterparty, i.e., the hedge provider, will neglect to perform its obligations underneath the hedge agreement. When the hedge provider defaults on its obligations, the customer usually needed underneath the loan documents to acquire a substitute rate of interest hedge agreement. Within the situation of the rate cap, however, the customer may have compensated the hedge provider at closing. Within this circumstance, not just would the customer need to pay again for any hedge agreement it had already purchased, however the substitute cost may far exceed the price for that original hedge if rates of interest have risen within the interim.4

A customer may minimize counterparty risk by negotiating certain additional terms in to the hedge agreement. Just one way of minimizing counterparty risk would be to require hedge provider to publish margin within an amount comparable to the need for the hedge agreement the idea is the fact that, upon a default through the hedge provider, the customer could make use of the collateral it’s holding to buy a brand new hedge agreement to pay for the rest of the term from the original hedge agreement. Another approach is always to obligate the hedge provider to exchange itself, i.e., result in a new hedge provider to initiate a hedge agreement using the customer since the remaining term from the original hedge. Another approach is always to require hedge provider to provide a guaranty from the creditworthy entity, frequently a joint venture partner from the hedge provider. In some instances the parties negotiate these remedies could be needed only when the hedge provider’s credit scores drop below specified thresholds. These provisions generally safeguard the loan provider along with the customer, simply because they minimize the danger the customer will need to incur yet another expense to get a substitute hedge agreement. Some lenders require borrowers to incorporate these provisions to their benefit rate hedge contracts.

Mandatory clearing margin for uncleared swaps

Underneath the Commodity Exchange Act, as amended by Dodd-Frank, all swaps recognized by the regulators as able to be removed (generally, “standardized” swaps), and also to that your clearing exception doesn’t apply, should be removed via a registered swap clearinghouse. Up to now, the regulators have identified rate of interest swaps and certain credit default swaps as susceptible to this mandatory clearing requirement. Clearing adds a layer of complexity and price to hedging transactions. Amongst other things, the clearinghouses require daily margin calls of customers. Consequently, many borrowers may wish to make use of the “end user exception” to make sure that their hedge transactions aren’t susceptible to mandatory clearing.

The Commodity Exchange Act mandates that all parties for an uncleared swap publish margin (collateral) to the counterparty. The United States banking regulators and also the CFTC have printed margin rules which is implemented over a length starting in September of the year. These rules also contain exceptions for several finish-users.

Many corporate borrowers, and many property borrowers, is going to be qualified for exceptions from all of these clearing and margin needs. Certain funds yet others within the financial sector, however, might not be qualified. Lenders should conduct research to verify the supply associated with a such exceptions.


A default with a customer within loan agreement regarding that your hedge agreement is within place will typically trigger a mix-default underneath the related Master Agreement. Similarly, a celebration of default underneath the hedge agreement, particularly a celebration of default that leads to an earlier termination from the hedge, is usually a celebration of default underneath the loan agreement. Hedge providers frequently propose an extensive mix-default provision which might reference defaults by affiliates (broadly defined) from the customer according of separate obligations towards the hedge provider (or its affiliates) over a certain threshold amount and defaults by affiliates under separate hedge contracts with similar provider. The parties can negotiate which parties ought to be incorporated within the crossdefault provisions as so-known as “Specified Entities,” and which parties ought to be excluded. When the hedge provider and also the loan provider aren’t affiliates, then your loan provider would like their email list of “Specified Entities” to become as limited as you possibly can. When the hedge provider and also the loan provider are affiliates, however, they would like a wider listing of “Specified Entities.”

Borrowers are cautioned to think about carefully the implications of broadly defining the course of Specified Entities that could trigger a mix-default within hedge agreement. Consider, for instance, a scenario where a particular customer and it is affiliates have some of loans and connected rate of interest swap contracts having a particular loan provider. When the mix-default provisions from the contracts managing the swap transactions make reference to affiliates of every customer, the loan provider might be allowed to terminate all the swap contracts (or, worse for that customer, be allowed to select which swaps to terminate and which to depart in position) upon just one event of default with a single affiliate within single swap agreement. Consequently, as noted above, the termination of every swap agreement through the hedge provider may likely trigger a celebration of default underneath the related loan documents. Borrowers should be extra careful to barter the mix-default provisions to prevent the opportunity of one underperforming business or property to trigger an avalanche of mix-defaults on “out from the money” hedges and, by extension, around the related loans. Additionally, borrowers should observe that courts have held certain mix-affiliate set-off provisions to become unenforceable in personal bankruptcy proceedings.5

Treatment in personal bankruptcy

The United States Personal bankruptcy Code generally protects parties to swap contracts in the potentially catastrophic effects that may arise in the failure of the lender with significant contact with derivatives. The Personal bankruptcy Code exempts swap contracts from:

  • Operation from the automatic stay
  • The best from the personal bankruptcy trustee to visualize or reject executory contracts
  • The prohibition on ipso facto clauses making personal bankruptcy a celebration of default
  • Limitations on set-off legal rights

These “safe harbor” provisions happen to be expanded to pay for a broader selection of lending options and qualified participants. The general aftereffect of these provisions would be to permit a celebration to some hedge agreement to terminate the agreement, offset and internet out any payment obligations owed underneath the agreement (such as the netting of termination values or payment amounts across multiple transactions between your same counterparties) and apply any margin collateral locked in respect of individuals obligations notwithstanding the personal bankruptcy from the hedge counterparty-all without getting to acquire permission in the court.6

The filing of the personal bankruptcy petition will trigger a celebration of default you can use through the counterparty like a grounds for terminating the hedge agreement and exercising its offset and netting legal rights. The relation to individuals legal rights can become particularly significant, because they will have a significant effect on the financial worth of the hedge transaction in and outdoors of the personal bankruptcy.

Banks, however, aren’t US Personal bankruptcy Code qualified entities. The Government Deposit Insurance Act (FDIA)7 would govern the insolvency (or conservatorship) of certain banks, while condition law would govern the insolvency/ conservatorship of other banks. The FDIA affords hedge counterparties legal rights which are somewhat much like individuals open to hedge counterparties underneath the US Personal bankruptcy Code, yet variations are available. For instance, underneath the FDIA, a hedge counterparty must observe a 1-businessday stay before exercising its to terminate a hedge hire a financial institution in receivership or conservatorship, as well as in the situation of the conservatorship, certain insolvencyrelated occasions cannot be employed to trigger a termination or any other remedies.8 This stay offers an chance to transfer the “good” assets (including swaps, towards the extent the FDIC wants to ensure that they’re in position) to some solvent entity while departing the “bad” assets behind within the insolvent entity.

Dodd-Frank offers an alternative framework for restructuring certain non-bank banking institutions (including non-bank affiliates of banks) considered able to jeopardizing the economy. With an “orderly liquidation authority” (OLA) procedure, each relevant counterparty must observe a 1-working day stay before exercising its to terminate a transaction by having an OLA-qualified insolvent entity (like the FDIA provision described above).9

On October 11, 2014, ISDA announced that 18 major global banking institutions (G-18) decided to sign a brand new ISDA Resolution Stay Protocol, that has been coded in coordination using the Financial Stability Board to aid mix-border resolution and lower systemic risk. The protocol imposes a 48-hour remain on mix-default and early termination legal rights within standard ISDA derivatives contracts between protocol adherents in case one of these is susceptible to resolution action in the jurisdiction. The stay is supposed to give regulators time for you to facilitate an orderly resolution of the troubled bank. Even though this protocol isn’t presently binding on parties apart from the G-18 firms, regulators might eventually require a much wider number of market participants to stick to the protocol.10

Offset legal rights

Certain offset legal rights could have a significant negative impact on the need for a hedge agreement. For instance, a “disguised walk-away” provision provides that the nondefaulting counterparty doesn’t have obligation to pay for a derivatives settlement add up to a defaulting party unless of course all liabilities of any sort then owing through the defaulting party and it is affiliates towards the non-defaulting party and it is affiliates have first been compensated.

Although it’s possible to argue concerning the intrinsic fairness of these a provision outdoors of the personal bankruptcy, consider its impact when a personal bankruptcy continues to be filed. When the hedge provider is definitely an affiliate from the bankrupt borrower’s mortgage loan provider (out of the box frequently the situation), the result from the provision would be to enable the hedge provider to reason that it’s no payment obligations underneath the hedge agreement (even in which the hedge is “in the money” for that customer) unless of course the home loan is compensated entirely, notwithstanding the presence of the personal bankruptcy situation.

Such provisions, however, might not be enforceable within an insolvency or conservatorship proceeding. For instance, the FDIA clearly provides that this type of provision isn’t enforceable against an establishment in arrears that can take federally insured deposits.11 As noted above, not every banks are controlled through the FDIA and courts applying condition law happen to be divided about this issue.12 Because of the uncertainty surrounding enforceability, most hedge providers have eliminated walkaway clauses using their hedge contracts. Nevertheless, given their potentially harsh result, borrowers could be well offered to stay vigilant about this point and eliminate burdensome offset provisions using their contracts.

Hedges regarding the property financings

The discussion above is relevant to borrowers and lenders in a number of industries. Other factors can arise once the customer is indeed a estate investor. Individuals issues aren’t addressed in the following paragraphs.


Rate of interest hedge contracts are complex and really should be joined into once receiving advice from qualified counsel. The themes discussed in the following paragraphs are the more essential problems with which borrowers and lenders must be aware whenever using hedge contracts. Bearing these points in your mind can help make sure that the first is not implementing on unforeseen risks when attemping to handle one’s contact with rate of interest fluctuations.

This information is located in part with an article co-created by the writer, Gary A. Goodman, someone in Dentons, and Malcolm K. Montgomery, someone at Shearman & Stearling LLP. The writer gratefully acknowledges their contributions. Any errors in the following paragraphs would be the sole responsibility from the author.

  1. The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, Pub. L. 111-203, 124 Stat. 1376, enacted July 21, 2010.
  2. The test of whether a party is an ECP is made at the time a swap or guarantee is entered into.
  3. See LSTA Market Advisory February 15, 2013, “Swap Regulations’ Implications for Loan Documentation.”
  4. The borrower could possibly assert claims against the original hedge provider in this circumstance. There is no certainty that such claims would be resolved quickly. Although most of the hedge claims resulting from the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy filing (circa September 2008) were settled promptly, some claims remain in litigation as of the time of publication of this article.
  5. See, e.g., Sass v. Barclays Bank PLC (In re American Home Mortgage, Holdings, Inc.), No. 11-51851 (CSS) (Bankr. D. Del. Nov. 8, 2013); Chevron Products Co. v. SemCrude, L.P. (In re SemCrude, L.P.), 428 B.R. 590 (D. Del. 2010).
  6. 11 U.S.C. §§ 362(b)(17), 556, 560, 561.
  7. The Federal Deposit Insurance Act of 1950, Pub.L. 81-797, 64 Stat. 873, enacted September 21, 1950, is the statute that governs the FDIC.
  8. A complete discussion of the treatment of hedge agreements in bankruptcies and bank insolvencies/conservatorships is beyond the scope of this article.
  9. See “Treatment of a Hedge Fund’s Claims Against and Other Exposures To a Covered Financial Company Under the Orderly Liquidation Authority Created by the Dodd-Frank Act,” The Hedge Fund Law Report, Vol. 4, No. 15 (May 6, 2011).
  10. See: http://www2.isda.org/news/major-banks-agree-to-sign-isda-resolution-stay-protocol. And for the buy-side perspective: http://www.thetradenews.com/Asset-Classes/Derivatives/Buy-siders-up-in-arms-over-new-ISDA-derivatives-protocol/.
  11. U.S.C. §1821(e)(8)(G). See also 12 U.S.C. § 5390(c)(8)(F) (similar provision in OLA proceedings).
  12. See In re Lehman Bros. Holdings Inc. v. BNY Corporate Tr. Servs. Ltd., 422 B.R. 407 (S.D.N.Y. 2010) (holding that a provision seeking to modify payment priority upon a bankruptcy-related event of default is unenforceable in a bankruptcy proceeding). See also Brookfield Asset Mgmt. Inc. v. AIG Fin. Prods. Corp., 2010 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 103272 (S.D.N.Y. 2010) (holding that defendant failed to establish that a walkway clause was not an unenforceable penalty or liquidated damages provision under New York State law).



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