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Islamic bankers take the measure of Isda

The International Swaps and Derivatives Association is writing to capital markets regulators in the Middle East to see whether its derivatives documentation can be used in Islamic jurisdictions.

Isda is drafting a letter that it hopes to send to financial regulators in Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE this month.

The letter will ask them to help solve problems that Isda members have encountered when using the Isda Master Agreement on deals subject to Shariah law.

?Firstly, we aim to find out if the regulators can accept the single-agreement approach,? says Isda policy director Peter Werner. ?It might not be a problem, but it is the fundamental characteristic of our documentation, and the regulators need to be comfortable with it.?

The single agreement concept means that the Isda Master Agreement and all confirmations under it form a single agreement between the parties.

?This is critical in a close-out situation to permit the values of all transactions to be calculated and netted off against each other and produce a single amount payable by one party,? says Werner.

The other big question in the Middle East is whether Isda?s close-out netting procedure is enforceable under local insolvency laws and Shariah law.

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