This post continues our discussion of the calculation of “gross notional amounts” included in a fund’s “derivatives exposure” under Rule 18f-4. Previously, we identified the best guidance we could find on how to calculate a derivatives transaction’s gross notional amount, and three adjustments to such amounts permitted by the rule’s definition of derivatives exposure. In this post, we discuss another adjustment not anticipated by Rule 18f‑4, but which we believe is necessary to avoid a fund that purports to be a limited derivatives user from circumventing the 10% limit on its derivatives exposure
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By Stephen A. Keen and Andrew P. Cross

Our previous post gave the best account we could of what the SEC staff has said about calculating the “gross notional amount” of derivatives transactions. In this post, we examine three adjustments that a fund may (but is not required to) make when calculating its “derivatives exposure.” Specifically, a fund may:

  • exclude any closed-out positions;
  • delta adjust the notional amounts of options contracts; and
  • convert the notional amount of interest rate derivatives to 10-year bond equivalents.

We anticipate that a fund seeking to qualify as a “limited derivatives user” would make these adjustments to lower its derivatives exposure.

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By Stephen A. Keen and Andrew P. Cross

In this post, we tackle the question of how to calculate the “gross notional amount” of a derivatives transaction for purposes of the limited derivatives user provision of Rule 18f-4. This is a surprisingly difficult question because, although the adopting release for Rule 18f-4 (the “Adopting Release”) refers to “notional amount” 63 times, the release never directly addresses what the term means. We think we found an answer, but it required us to wind our way through a series of earlier SEC statements.

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By Stephen A. Keen and Andrew P. Cross

Having provided two “big pictures” of the calculation of a fund’s “derivatives exposure,” we resume with an in-depth examination. We begin by considering how to determine the “gross notional amount” of a derivatives transaction. This post may contain our only categorical conclusion regarding derivatives exposure: gross notional amounts must be absolute values expressed in U.S. dollars.

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Kari Larsen, Partner in Perkins’ New York Office, talks to Cameron Prell, Head of Government Policy & Legal at Xpansiv CBL Holding Group, an environmental data and trading platform, about recent activity in the environmental commodities and derivatives markets. Kari and Cam discuss the market history, a Report titled Managing Climate Risk in the U.S. Financial System issued recently by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission’s Climate-Related Market Risk Subcommittee and its potential impact, and other recent regulatory actions. They also predict what they think will happen in these markets in the future.

Click here to view the podcast.

By Keith Miller, Kari Larsen and Sarah Howland

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) Settlements Timeline serves as an interactive compilation of select CFTC guidance, enforcement actions, and speeches relating to the application of the federal securities laws to digital assets. Beginning with the Order filed in September, 2015 by the CFTC requiring Coinflip and its chief executive officer Francisco Riordan to cease… Continue Reading… at The Virtual Currency Report.

By Stephen A. Keen and Andrew P. Cross

Our last post provided a big picture summary of the steps required to calculate a Fund’s “derivatives exposure” for purposes of new Rule 18f-4. The post may have left an impression that this process should not be that difficult. To provide additional perspective, we offer the following equation for calculating derivatives exposure.

If interest rate and currency hedges satisfy the following condition:

Then a Fund will be a limited derivatives user when:

Where: Continue reading the full blog post at The Asset Management ADVocate

By Stephen A. Keen & Andrew P. Cross

Our last post outlined the essential differences between VaR Funds and Limited Derivatives Users: primarily that the former must adopt a derivatives risk management program (a “DRM Program”) while the latter need only have policies and procedures. Our post observed that the less prescriptive regulatory requirements may make operating as a Limited Derivative User an attractive alternative for many management investment companies (including business development companies but excluding money market funds, a “Fund”). As promised at the end of that post, this post initiates our exploration of the challenges of qualifying as a Limited Derivatives User. We begin by providing a high-level step-by-step guide to calculating a Fund’s “derivatives exposure.”

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By Stephen A. Keen and Andrew P. Cross

Our last post explained the two basic alternatives for managing derivatives risks under new Rule 18f-4 by qualifying either as a Limited Derivatives User or a VaR Fund. This post outlines the essential differences between VaR Funds and Limited Derivatives Users, primarily that the former must adopt a derivatives risk management program (a “DRM Program”) while the latter need only have policies and procedures.

Elements of a DRM Program

As indicated in our last post, VaR Testing is an essential requirement of a DRM Program. But this is only one of the elements required by Rule 18f-4(c). At its core, a DRM Program must identify and assess a VaR Fund’s derivatives risks that arise from all of its derivatives transactions, taking into account its other investments. Rule 18f-4 also requires a DRM Program to include the following.

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By Stephen A. Keen & Andrew P. Cross

Rule 18f-4 is somewhat unusual in that it gives management investment companies (including business development companies but excluding money market funds, “Funds”) alternative means of complying with its exemption from Sections 18 and 61. A Fund may either:

  • Limit the way and extent to which the Fund engages in derivatives transactions (a “Limited Derivatives User”), or
  • Adopt a Derivatives Risk Management Program (a “DRM Program”) that, among other requirements, limits the Fund’s Value-at-Risk (“VaR”) relative to an index, its non-derivatives portfolio or its net assets (a “VaR Fund”).

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