This post will bring to a close, for now, our survey of the requirements of new Rule 18f-4, which investment companies must comply with by August 19, 2022. This post considers whether a Chief Compliance or Risk Officer should seek to treat some or all of their funds as Limited Derivatives Users and how that choice, in turn, relates to the decision about whether to treat reverse repurchase agreements as derivatives transactions. But first, we review the compliance procedures required by Rule 18f-4 for (nearly) every fund. We also provide links to compliance checklists provided in earlier posts.

This post will address another ambiguity in the “10% buffer” Rule 18f-4 provides for excluding the notional amount of derivative transactions that hedge currency or interest rate risks (“Hedging Derivatives”) when calculating the Derivatives Exposure of a Limited Derivatives User. The ambiguity is whether, once the notional amount of a Hedging Derivative exceeds the 10% buffer, a fund should add back to its Derivatives Exposure (a) the entire notional amount of the Hedging Derivative or (b) only the notional amount in excess of the 10% buffer. We chose answer (b) in our post on The 10% Buffer and Changes in Hedged Investments. This post explains why.

This post continues our examination of the “10% buffer” for Hedging Derivatives, which refers to the amount by which the notional amounts of Hedging Derivatives can exceed the value, par or principal amount of the hedged equity and fixed-income investments. In this post we consider whether funds should apply the 10% buffer to Hedging Derivatives in the aggregate or on a “hedge-by-hedge” basis.

This post continues our examination of the “10% buffer” for Hedging Derivatives, which refers to the amount by which the notional amounts of Hedging Derivatives can exceed the value of hedged equity investments, par amount of hedged fixed-income investments or principal amount of hedged borrowings. In this post we examine what it means for Hedging Derivatives to exceed the 10% buffer.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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: