2021年4月26日,全国人民大会常务委员会第二十八次会议首次审议了《中华人民共和国期货法(草案)》(“《期货法》(一审稿)”)。2021年10月22日,全国人民代表大会常务委员会第三十一次会议将《期货法》(一审稿)更名为《中华人民共和国期货和衍生品法(草案二次审议稿)》(“《期货和衍生品法》(二审稿)”或“二审稿”),并进行了审议,同时向社会公开征求意见。与《期货法》(一审稿)相比,二审稿提出诸多新的修改,也对部分条文进行了精简,总体上使《期货和衍生品法》向着更具灵活性和兼容性的方向积极推进。二审稿的征求意见截止时间为2021年11月21日。

On 26 April 2021, the 28th meeting of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress, China’s top legislature (“NPC”) deliberated for the first time the “Futures Law of the People’s Republic of China (Draft)” (“Draft Futures Law”). On 22 October 2021, the revised draft of the Futures Law, renamed as “Futures and Derivatives Law of the People’s Republic of China” (“Draft FDL”) was submitted to the NPC for a second reading and public consultation. The Draft FDL proposes a significant number of changes to the first draft. We believe the changes cater for further flexibility and inclusive nature of the law to support the further development of futures and derivatives trading in China. The consultation period for the Draft FDL will end on 21 November 2021.

我们此前对于《期货法》(一审稿)的评论,可于以下链接查询:

You may access our previous articles (in Chinese only) on the (first reading) Draft Futures Law below:

  • 未来已来——试评《中华人民共和国期货法(草案)》(Series 1: OTC derivatives)
  • “未来”与“选择”——试评《中华人民共和国期货法(草案)》(Series 2: Exchange-traded derivatives)
  • 连接未来——试评《中华人民共和国期货法(草案)》(Series 3: Cross-border application)

本文仅从场外衍生品交易的角度归纳二审稿的亮点,并就部分关键点提出市场的期许。

This article highlights the key implications of the Draft FDL on over-the-counter (OTC) derivatives and market’s expectations on the critical outstanding points.

一、“单一协议”与“终止净额结算”能够得到立法支持

Legislative recognition of “Single Agreement” and “Close-out Netting”

如我们在之前的文章中所介绍,场外衍生品协议中的“单一协议” “终止净额结算”等机制的法律确定性,尤其是它们在破产程序中的可执行性,是场外衍生品市场能够得以健康发展最基础和最关键的支柱,也无疑是本次《期货和衍生品法》起草过程中最令境内外市场欢欣鼓舞的期待与亮点。

As addressed in our earlier articles, the legal enforceability of the “Single Agreement” and “Close-out Netting” mechanisms, in particular during PRC bankruptcy proceedings against a PRC counterparty, is the fundamental and critical pillar underpinning the healthy development of the OTC derivatives market. The Draft FDL introduces a national legal framework for statutory recognition of “Close-out Netting” in China and has therefore attracted extensive market attention from both onshore and offshore market players.

《期货和衍生品法》(二审稿)第三十三条与第三十五条分别给予了场外衍生品中“单一协议”与“终止净额结算”机制以法律确定性及可执行性,并明确处理了“终止净额机制”与现行《中华人民共和国企业破产法》中部分强制性规定之间的关系。与之前版本相比,第三十三条与第三十五条的调整不大,体现了立法和监管在积极响应市场对于“终止净额结算”可执行性期待方面的不懈努力。

Articles 33 and 35 of the Draft FDL recognize the legal certainty and enforceability of the “Single Agreement” and “Close-out Netting” mechanisms respectively, and clarify that such statutory “safe-harbor” shall prevail over certain mandatory provisions under the PRC Bankruptcy Law. Compared with the Draft Futures Law released at the first reading in April 2021, changes to articles 33 and 35 of the Draft FDL are minimal – it demonstrates the PRC legislature’s determination and continued efforts to retain these “safe-harbor” provisions to offer necessary comfort for the market as to the enforceability of “Close-out Netting” in China.

不仅如此,我们在适用于中央清算(无论是场外衍生品还是场内衍生品)的净额结算条文中,均感受到立法机构对于第一轮市场意见的听取与吸纳:在《期货法》(一审稿)中,对于破产或者清算程序的提述都指向交易者或中介机构,而二审稿将措辞调整为“不因参与结算的任何一方依法进入破产程序而中止、无效或撤销”。这不仅专门应对了市场对于破产管理人“中止/暂缓”权的顾虑,还使得本法授予的“特别保护”在更广泛的破产程序(可包括中央对手方的破产)中均可适用。

We greatly appreciate the legislature’s due considerations of the market’s earlier comments to the Draft Futures Law in revising the netting provisions applicable to central clearing (both with respect to OTC derivatives and exchange-traded derivatives). In the first reading draft of the Futures Law, all references to “bankruptcy proceedings” in provisions relating to central clearing of OTC derivatives trades were previously limited to investors and market intermediaries only. In the Draft FDL, these provisions have been revised to afford statutory protection of centrally cleared OTC derivative trades over the commencement of any bankruptcy proceeding with respect to any party to the relevant transaction.

Article 37 of the Draft FDL now reads as “[netting] shall not be stayed, invalidated or revoked due to the commencement of any bankruptcy proceeding with respect to any party to the transaction in accordance with the law.

This change not only addresses the market’s concerns regarding an administrator’s stay power, but also supports the “safe-harbor” regime in the bankruptcy proceedings to cover a much broader range of parties (including central counterparties).

二、备案条件的逻辑与可能发展

Filing Requirement as pre-condition to statutory “safe-harbor”

与《期货法》(一审稿)相同,第三十三条(“单一协议”)与第三十五条(“终止净额结算”)并非毫无条件,它们都仅适用于符合第三十二条规定的主协议和交易。

The filing pre-requisite element in the first reading of the Draft Futures Law is retained in the Draft FDL. Article 33 (Single Agreement) and article 35 (Close-out Netting) of the Draft FDL apply to, and benefit, only those master agreements and transactions entered into in compliance with article 32 of the Draft FDL.

《期货和衍生品法》(二审稿)第三十二条要求“组织开展衍生品交易,应当将主协议等合同范本报送国务院授权的部门或者国务院期货监督管理机构备案”(“备案要求”)。

Article 32 of the Draft FDL provides that “In organising OTC derivatives trading, the templates of the relevant master agreement and other model documents shall be filed with the departments authorised by the State Council or the futures regulatory body of the State Council” (“Filing Requirement”).

放之四海,备案要求并非国际场外衍生品市场上的通例,也并不具有代表性。但是,对于场外衍生品发展初期的中国而言,这种合理的谨慎态度应当是可以理解的。因为衍生品交易在破产程序中的特别保护将如何发展未经推演与检验,其会否被滥用存在不确定性。

Imposing the Filing Requirement as a pre-condition to statutory recognition of the “Single Agreement” and “Close-out Netting” mechanisms does not reflect the prevailing practice in global OTC market, nor is it representative of an international regulatory approach for recognition of “Close-out Netting”. The legislature’s rationale underlying the Filing Requirement may arise from regulatory concerns on the untested nature of a statutory “safe-harbor” for the “Single Agreement” and “Close-out Netting” mechanisms in PRC bankruptcy proceedings.

因此,对市场上常见的场外衍生品文件贴上备案“标签”,可在一定程度上减少上述滥用风险,并有助于法院精确司法。

The Filing Requirement for standard documents widely used for OTC derivatives may therefore be perceived as a means to impose regulatory overlay against potential market abuse of the new “safe-harbor” regime and assist PRC courts (especially those hearing bankruptcy cases) implement this regime in a safer and controlled framework.

然而,哪些主协议需要备案且如何备案,第三十二条还存在一定的不确定性。在一审稿中,“行业协会或者组织开展其他衍生品交易的机构应当将……主协议等格式合同文本”报送备案;而二审稿将“行业协会”删去,此改动在业内引起广泛的讨论。

Clarifications on the implementation details of and filing logistics for the Filing Requirement as contemplated under article 32 (such as what and how industry master agreement(s) should be filed) are necessary. The market observes that the previous Draft Futures Law had assigned the filing responsibility to “industry associations and the organisers of OTC derivatives”. The latest drafting of article 32 of the Draft FDL has removed the reference to “industry associations”, leading to a significant degree of uncertainty in the market as to the practical implications of the Filing Requirement, in particular, as to whether industry associations (such as ISDA) are able to complete and satisfy the Filing Requirement for industry standard agreement templates to enjoy the statutory “safe harbor” for “Close-out Netting” under article 35.

当然,新的写法也可能存在多种解读,甚至彼此之间互有矛盾。主要有以下问题:行业协会是否可以将其主协议范本提交备案?金融机构自研主协议可否进行备案?使用可备案主协议进行的交易是否包括跨境交易?组织开展衍生品交易的机构可否将行业主协议提交备案?在立法澄清或监管的实施细则出台之前,我们倾向于认为过于狭窄的解读可能与立法本意和市场预期有异,这是因为:

Some market participants are concerned that the deletion of “industry associations” poses obstacles for the filing of industry master agreements (such as ISDA, NAFMII and SAC Master Agreements) by industry associations. Questions include: Can industry associations file their master agreement templates? Can financial institutions file their mini-master templates? Will cross-border OTC transactions be covered by a master agreement which template has been duly filed? Can institutions that carry out OTC derivatives trading file an industry master agreement? Pending the legislature’s further clarification or future promulgation of the regulators’ implementation rules for the FDL, we believe that a narrow construction of article 32 does not seem to align with the legislative purpose of, and the market’s expectation regarding, the FDL because:

1.目前我国市场上的场外衍生品主要由行业主协议来规管,包括ISDA主协议、NAFMII主协议和SAC主协议。ISDA协会不组织具体交易,中国银行间市场交易商协会(“交易商协会”)、中国证券业协会、中国证券投资基金业协会、中国期货业协会也不组织具体交易;并且

most OTC derivative transactions in the onshore and cross-border market are documented under standard master agreement templates published by industry associations, including the ISDA Master Agreement, NAFMII Master Agreement and SAC Master Agreement. The industry bodies that publish these standard agreements (including ISDA, NAFMII, SAC, AMAC or CFA) do not “organise” OTC derivative transactions; and

2.组织开展衍生品交易的场所(以外汇交易中心(“外汇中心”)为代表)并未制备或主推自己的主协议,相反,外汇中心早已接纳交易商协会的2009年版本衍生品主协议为入会材料,自2020年3月起,外汇中心也在国际化进程中放开接纳ISDA主协议为入会材料。

trading venues (such as China Foreign Exchange Trading System or “CFETS”) that organise OTC derivative transactions in China do not formulate their own master agreement templates or mandate the use of their designated master agreement templates. In fact, the CFETS has accepted 2009 NAFMII Master Agreements and ISDA Master Agreements as part of the application materials submitted by candidates and foreign participants since 2009 and 2020 respectively.

如果删去“行业协会”表示各行业协会的主协议均不需要或不能够进行备案,那么能够从第三十三条(“单一协议”)与第三十五条(“终止净额结算”)获益的交易将非常之少,使得整体第二章第三节(衍生品交易)的效果大打折扣。

If the deletion of “industry associations” in article 32 were interpreted to prohibit the filing of industry master agreements by “industry associations”, the vast majority of OTC derivative transactions would not benefit from the protection under article 33 (Single Agreement) and article 35 (Close-out Netting) – this would significantly defeat the legislative intent of Section 3 (OTC Derivatives) of Chapter II.

备案要求被狭义解读为只适用于境内交易文件而对跨境和境外交易“此路不通”缺乏合理性,也将对我国衍生品市场的发展产生负面影响。试想,在日益深入的国际化进程中,进入破产程序的某一中资企业则不可避免地既有境内衍生品交易又有跨境衍生品交易,却只有部分交易的终止净额安排获得尊重,而具有完全相同机制(三大支柱)的其他交易均无法享受特别保护,这种不平等待遇将会造成市场的混乱。

In addition, the confinement of the Filing Requirement to onshore transactions and documents only (thereby excluding cross-border transactions) would inevitably lead to an unreasonable and negative impact on the development of China’s OTC derivatives market. In light of the internationalisation of China’s financial markets, a PRC counterparty would inevitably have outstanding onshore and cross-border transactions – it would be a difficult situation (and arguably create unfair consequences) if close-out netting for only onshore transactions are enforced but not for cross-border transactions when both are documented under standard industry master agreements adopting the same three pillar principles that underpin Close-out Netting.

我们希望立法部门及监管部门可以继续广开言路,聆听市场的声音,把备案要求进一步明确,给予行业协会的主协议以备案之路,并适当考虑金融机构自行研发使用并具有关键支柱性原则的自研主协议版本。

We hope the legislature and regulators can consider the above feedback from market participants by clarifying the applicability of the Filing Requirement to the use of master agreements published by domestic and international industry associations in cross-border scenarios, as well as bespoke mini-master agreements designed by individual financial institutions which adopt the key three pillar principles that underpin Close-out Netting.

从乐观的方面来说,目前版本删去“行业协会”绝非世界末日。单从文字上解读,本第三十二条并不排除开展衍生品交易的组织者将行业协会的主协议范本报送备案,而市场和政策都有这样的国际化动因。

Notwithstanding the removal of “industry associations” from article 32, considering the Chinese government’s continued efforts to promote internationalisation of Chinese derivatives market, the current drafting of article 32 does not preclude the filing of the standard master agreement templates (developed by industry associations) by trading venues or other participants in derivatives trading.

三、各类履约保障形式的可行性

Scope of credit support methods

《期货和衍生品法》(二审稿)第三十四简化了之前的写法。

Article 34 of the Draft FDL has streamlined its drafting relating to performance assurance arrangements for OTC derivatives transactions.

As noted in our previous articles, “transfer-style performance assurance” commonly used in the OTC derivative market is fundamentally different from, and should not be re-characterised as, “assignment security” recently established by the PRC judicial system pursuant to the PRC Civil Code (effective since January 2021). Hence, “transfer-style performance assurance” does not have a “security function”, nor should it constitute a subsidiary contract underlying a master agreement (because the transactions under a “transfer-style performance assurance” constitute a transaction as contemplated under the relevant master agreement).如我们在之前文章中指出,场外衍生品市场上常用的“转让式履约保障”与中国司法新近确立的“让与担保”具有显著差别,不能混为一谈。“转让式履约保障”既不宜被解读为“具有担保功能”,也并非“合同”(而是构成主协议项下一项交易)。

我们很高兴看到上述理据已被接受,且第三十四条只是用概括性写法引出了各种履约保障方式,并未穷尽,也未将它限定于“具有担保功能的合同”,因此从某种意义上减少了被重新定性为中国法“让与担保”的可能性,为将来司法审判预留了空间。

We welcome the legislature’s considerations of these issues and note that article 34 in the Draft FDL is drafted in sufficiently broad terms to capture all types of credit support methods without imposing any unnecessary qualifications such as “contracts with security functions” for performance assurance arrangements for OTC derivatives transactions. The streamlined drafting of article 34 may also mitigate the risk that “transfer-style performance assurance” would be re-characterised as “assignment security” under PRC law, leaving room for courts to interpret and recognise the enforceability of a “transfer-style performance assurance” pursuant to the “Single Agreement” and “Close-out Netting” mechanisms contemplated under article 33 and article 35.

四、《期货和衍生品法》的国际性考虑还需要加强

Enhancement of the Draft FDL to cater for cross-border scenarios

市场化、法治化和国际化是目前立法工作中应当注重兼顾的几大要素。我们注意到《期货和衍生品法》二审稿第二条规定了本法的适用范围,即发生于中华人民共和国境内的衍生品交易及相关活动,以及扰乱境内市场秩序、损害境内交易者合法权益的境外衍生品交易及相关活动。这种规定域外效力的法条起草方式与一审稿并无实质区别,且与2020年3月生效的《中华人民共和国证券法》(2019修订)第二条极为类似。

The PRC legislature is required to take into consideration the market-friendliness, the rule of law and the internationalisation when formulating a new law. Article 2 of the Draft FDL expressly provides that it covers (i) futures and OTC derivatives transactions and related activities conducted within the territory of the People’s Republic of China and (ii) futures and OTC derivatives transactions and related activities conducted outside the territory of the People’s Republic of China where such transactions or activities have disturbed the domestic market order or damaged the legitimate interests of onshore trading participants. The drafting of article 2 of the Draft FDL is substantially similar to the Draft Futures Law at the first reading. It is worth noting that similar drafting (conferring extraterritorial jurisdiction to the Chinese regulators) has been adopted in article 2 of the PRC Securities Law (2019 amendment) which came into effect in Mach 2020.

我们建议立法机关对于场外衍生品的跨境适用场景需要添加一定的考虑权重。这是因为场外衍生品交易与期货交易及证券交易都不同,后者具有统一的境内交易场所,而场外衍生品去中心化,可能存在于跨境场景中,无法确定交易“发生”于境内还是境外。

We recommend the legislature to include an express provision for Section 3 (OTC Derivatives) of Chapter II of the FDL to apply to cross-border and offshore scenarios where a PRC counterparty is involved because OTC derivatives differ significantly from futures trading and securities trading, where the latter is organised by onshore trading venues. The OTC derivative market is de-centralised. It is often difficult to categorise with absolute certainty whether a cross-border OTC transaction between an onshore entity and an offshore counterparty “occurs” onshore or offshore.

因此,《期货和衍生品法》二审稿第二条对于本法适用性的界定还不能完全满足市场的预期或解决他们的顾虑,尤其是参与者迫切希望能够享有场外衍生品在破产程序中具有的“特别保护”,迫切希望以此降低交易成本,迫切希望以此减少系统性风险、提高市场稳定性的情况下。

We hope the legislature can clarify the extra-territorial application of the FDL to cross-border OTC derivative transactions involving a PRC counterparty in either article 2 or Section 3 (OTC Derivatives) of Chapter II of the Draft FDL – this is particularly important as market participants will need to rely on the statutory “safe-harbor” (Single Agreement plus Close-out Netting) for all OTC derivatives transactions (whether onshore or offshore) in PRC bankruptcy proceedings to reduce their overall transaction costs, mitigate systemic risks and secure financial stability of the market.

如果跨境适用的问题无法得到澄清,那么境外交易对手对于中资机构能否享有本法第三十三条和第三十五条的保护会存在顾虑,因此仍对中资机构启用净额计算保证金信心不足,从而加大中资机构的交易成本,减少它们在国际市场上的参与度和话语权,以致影响中国多层次衍生品市场的健康发展。

In the absence of a clear application of the FDL to cross-border scenarios, offshore counterparties may not be able to confirm that their cross-border OTC derivative transactions involving PRC counterparties will benefit from the “safe-harbor” protection under articles 33 and 35 – they may therefore not be able to treat PRC counterparties as “clean netting” counterparties , which may continue to pose adverse impact on efficiency of OTC derivative transactions for PRC counterparties, and continuation of higher transaction costs and lower international participation and bargaining power. These will be detrimental to the healthy development of China’s derivative market.

五、下一步安排?

Next Step

未来已来,将至已至。我们呼吁业界参与者继续为《期货和衍生品法》(二审稿)建言献策,以期为实现“清洁”的净额环境而形成合力。

The Draft FDL represents a significant milestone by the PRC legislature to provide a robust legal framework to regulate the PRC OTC derivatives market. We encourage market players to submit their comments for clarifications and improvement to the FDL. With joint market efforts, we look forward to the market’s common goal for a “clean” netting legal framework ahead for China’s derivatives market.

金杜律师事务所将长期持续关注期货和场外衍生品市场的发展,为行业组织和市场机构提供专业的法律支持,携手业界同仁为相关立法工作的完善和市场法律制度的建设发展贡献力量。

King & Wood Mallesons is working closely with international industry associations and their members on their comments to recommend important amendments to the Draft FDL, and will continue to provide the market with updates on to the development of the futures and OTC derivatives market in the PRC