We promised a few posts back to discuss how a Limited Derivatives User should apply what we termed the “10% buffer” to determine whether currency and interest-rate derivatives may be excluded from its derivatives exposure. This post begins to tackle the question What is the 10% Buffer? and explain how it might work.

What is the 10% Buffer?

Our earlier post described the conditions under which a fund seeking to comply with the Limited Derivatives User requirements of Rule 18f-4 could exclude currency and interest-rate hedges (“Hedging Derivatives”) from its derivatives exposure. The third condition is that the notional amount of Hedging Derivatives:

do not exceed the value of the hedged investments (or the par value thereof, in the case of fixed-income investments, or the principal amount, in the case of borrowing) by more than 10 percent.

The “10% buffer” refers to the amount by which the notional amounts of Hedging Derivatives can exceed the value or par amount of the hedged investments or principal amount of hedged borrowings.

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By Stephen A. Keen and Andrew P. Cross

Our last post examined examples of currency hedges that we believe Rule 18f‑4(c)(4)(i)(B) should allow a fund seeking to comply with the Limited Derivatives User requirements to exclude from its derivatives exposure. This post struggles with examples of interest-rate hedges that may, or may not, be excluded.

A Paradigmatic Bond Hedge

As originally proposed, Rule 18f-4 would have excluded only currency hedges. The final rule added the exclusion of interest-rate hedges based on commenters who:

routinely enter into fixed-to-floating interest rate swaps (or vice versa) and [match] these transactions … to the notional amount and maturity of a specific security in the fund’s portfolio.”

As the SEC added the exclusion of interest-rate hedges to accommodate these commenters, it is reasonable to conclude that such a fixed-to-floating rate swap could be excluded from a fund’s derivatives exposure. We are less sure about the “vice versa,” as a floating-to-fixed rate swap would increase, rather than mitigate, a fund’s interest-rate risk. We do not believe the SEC would view using derivatives to increase duration as a “hedging purpose.”

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Today, the Investment Adviser Association published the attached article (Link to Article Dealing with the New Derivatives Rule) in its September 2021 IAA Newsletter.

At a high level, the article:

  • Provides a background on the limitations on senior securities under the Investment Company Act of 1940 (the “1940 Act“);
  • Affords readers with an overview of Rule 18f-4 under the 1940 Act;
  • Summarizes how a fund qualifies as a limited derivatives fund (includes a six-step process for calculating derivatives exposure); and
  • Describes the key elements of a derivatives risk management program that is required to be implemented by a fund that does not qualify as a limited derivatives fund (i.e., a VaR Fund).

We are grateful for the opportunity to have contributed the article to the IAA Newsletter.

Good day.  Good to focus on Rule 18f-4 issues, since the August 19, 2022 compliance date will be hear before we know it. DR2

By Stephen A. Keen and Andrew P. Cross 

Our last two posts surveyed what Rule 18f-4 and its adopting release (the “Release”) tell us about excluding currency and interest-rate derivatives from the derivatives exposure of a fund seeking to comply with the Limited Derivatives User requirements of Rule 18f-4(c)(4). The Release indicates that the SEC intends to exclude only those derivatives that:

will predictably and mechanically provide the anticipated hedging exposure without giving rise to basis risks or other potentially complex risks that should be managed as part of a derivatives risk management program.”

This post considers questions we have encountered in applying this exacting standard to currency hedging strategies.

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In Part 1 of this post, we focused on the July 7, 2021, recommendations for funds and advisers from the Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) Subcommittee of the SEC’s Asset Management Advisory Committee (AMAC). Here we cover the August 6, 2021, SEC order approving diversity disclosure rules proposed by The Nasdaq Stock Market LLC (Nasdaq) and the public responses of SEC Commissioners. Suffice it to say, the Commission is not of one mind.

Click here to read the full blog post on Asset Management ADVocate.

In recent weeks two important regulatory developments focused on diversity and inclusion (D&I) have come out of the SEC: the D&I Subcommittee of the SEC’s Asset Management Advisory Committee (AMAC) presented and received approval for its recommendations, and the SEC issued an order approving rule changes proposed by The Nasdaq Stock Market LLC (Nasdaq) relating to board diversity. SEC Chair Gary Gensler and other commissioners have publicly supported the Subcommittee’s recommendations and the new Nasdaq rules. But these developments are not uniformly popular at the SEC.

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By Stephen A. Keen and Andrew P. Cross

This post continues our examination of how a fund must treat hedges when calculating its derivatives exposure to qualify as a limited derivatives user. Commenters on proposed Rule 18f-4 suggested several types of derivatives hedges, in addition to currency derivatives, that the Commission might exclude from derivatives exposure. In the release adopting Rule 18f-4 (the “Adopting Release”), the Commission agreed to exclude interest rate derivatives from the calculation of derivatives exposure, but rejected the other suggestions. These other hedging strategies should therefore be included in a fund’s derivatives exposure.

We previously discussed covered call options and purchased option spreads, which are derivatives transactions and should be included in derivatives exposure. Other potential hedges that should be included in derivatives exposure include the following.

Read the full blog post at The Asset Management ADVocate.

 

By Stephen A. Keen and Andrew P. Cross

Our post on the derivatives exposure equation began with a separate equation concerning interest rate and currency hedges. This post explains the significance of this equation and what hedges should be excluded from a fund’s derivatives exposure. Our next post will address hedges included in derivatives exposures before we raise some interpretive questions about how the exclusion should be applied.

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Good day.  Good to know what is excluded and what is not…even if it is not alot.  DR2

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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