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.

This is the fifth installment of our discussion of the compliance requirements of new Rule 18f‑4 and completes our consideration of paragraph (d) of the new rule and its application to business development companies, closed-end funds and open-end funds other than money market funds (“Funds”). Our two previous posts considered the application of that paragraph to reverse repurchase agreements (“reverse repos”) and “similar financing transactions.” This posts identifies transactions that the adopting release (the “Release”) indicates would not be similar to reverse repos. These transactions fall into two categories: (a) derivatives instruments that will be subject to the conditions of paragraph (c) of Rule 18f‑4 and (b) transactions not at all subject to Rule 18f‑4.

 In an earlier post, I noted that Release No. IC-10666 was issued before interest rate swaps were invented. This may have been unfortunate, because swaps present unique challenges to Release 10666’s approach to asset segregation. I believe that difficulty with applying Release 10666 to swaps has contributed to inconsistency in the segregation requirements for different derivatives.

Swaps: The Revenge of Middle School Algebra