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.”

Read the full blog post at The Asset Management ADVocate.

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.

Continue reading the full blog post at The Asset Management ADVocate

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”).

Continue reading at The Asset Management ADVocate

By Stephen A. Keen and Andrew P. Cross

Having completed our review of derivatives transactions, we now consider the risks such transactions may pose. Rule 18f-4(a) defines “derivatives risks” to include “leverage, market, counterparty, liquidity, operational, and legal risks and any other [material] risks.” The adopting release (the “Release”) provides helpful descriptions of these risks and some examples.

Continue reading at The Asset Management ADVocate.

This post completes our exploration of the definition of “derivatives transactions” in Rule 18f-4, which is relevant to business development companies, closed-end funds and open-end funds other than a money market fund (“Funds”). Our object is to generate a fairly comprehensive list of what is, is not, and may be a “derivatives transaction” by using our touchstone of a “future payment obligation” in combination with the literal definition in the rule and points made in earlier posts.

Summary of Transactions

The following table summarizes our conclusions as to the scope of the definition of “derivatives transactions” and provides links to the most relevant post.

Continued at the complete blog post available at The Asset Management ADVocate.

By Stephen A. Keen and Andrew P. Cross

In this post, we continue our exploration of the definition of “derivatives transaction” in new Rule 18f-4, which is relevant to business development companies, closed-end funds and open-end funds other than a money market fund (“Funds”). Our last post discussed examples of derivatives that fall outside of the definition. This post considers transactions that may not pose the risks addressed by Rule 18f-4 but which are nevertheless subject to the rule. Subsequent posts will explain why this overbreadth is not as bad as it might seem.

Read the full blog post at The Asset Management ADVocate.

By Stephen A. Keen & Andrew P. Cross

In this, the twelfth installment of our review of the compliance requirements of new Rule 18f‑4, we leave the peripheral transactions addressed in the rule (i.e., delayed-delivery transactionsreverse repurchase agreements, and unfunded commitment agreements) and plunge into the core of the rule: “derivatives transactions” regulated by paragraph (c). To prepare for this, we need to understand some core concepts, including “derivatives transactions,” “derivatives risks” and “value-at-risk testing.”

We begin by seeking a bright line for separating investments not subject to Rule 18f-4 from those that may be. We find that whether a Fund has a future payment (or delivery) obligation is what matters the most when determining whether a particular transaction will be regulated as a derivatives transaction under Rule 18f-4.

Read the full blog post at The Asset Management ADVocate.

By Stephen A. Keen & Andrew P. Cross

This eleventh installment of our review of the compliance requirements of new Rule 18f‑4 as it applies to business development companies, closed-end funds and open-end funds other than money market funds (“Funds”) completes our discussion of unfunded commitment agreements. Here we consider what changes may be required for a Fund to comply with paragraph (e) of Rule 18f‑4. We suspect this may prove relatively easy for an open-end Fund.

View the full blog post at The Asset Management ADVocate.