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 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.

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 transactions, reverse 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.