Banking, Finance & CM

Close-Out Netting under Serbian law

The latest Insolvency Act and the Central Bank’s Decision on Financial Derivatives have introduced the close-out netting device into the Serbian legislative framework.

Since 2009, the Serbian Insolvency Act (Zakon o stečaju) recognises insolvency set-off and close-out netting concepts. In addition, the Decision on Financial Derivatives (Odluka o obavljanju poslova sa finansijskim derivatima) adopted by the Serbian Central Bank in 2011 generally provides that close-out netting is permitted, for instance in the case of termination of a master agreement due to the default of a counterparty, or in other agreed circumstances.

A creditor is entitled to cancel transactions, calculate and set-off the resulting gains and losses subject to following conditions:

A) the master agreement was entered into before the initiation of the insolvency proceedings;

B) the creditor has become entitled to set-off and netting pursuant to the master agreement by the latest, the moment of opening of insolvency proceedings;

C) netting has been exercised either (i) automatically or (ii) by serving notice on the insolvency debtor within three days following the opening of insolvency proceedings; and

D) netting has been triggered by (i) the existence of grounds for insolvency (stečajni razlog) of the counterparty, (ii) filing of a motion for initiation of the insolvency of the counterparty, or (iii) opening of insolvency proceedings against the counterparty.

Therefore, in relation to mutual claims arising out of, or in connection with financial framework agreements (eg, the ISDA Master Agreement), entered into prior to the initiation of insolvency proceedings, the close-out netting right should be enforceable even if it is acquired after the initiation of the insolvency proceedings against the debtor, but not later than the moment of opening of the insolvency proceedings.1

The close-out netting may be achieved either:

A) Automatically, ipso facto, if automatic early termination (“AET“) is agreed under the ISDA Master Agreement; or

B) by serving notice on the insolvency debtor at the latest within three days following the start of insolvency proceedings.

As a result of this short (three day) notice period, and related monitoring costs, a creditor can consider contracting an AET of all respective transactions on filing for insolvency, so as to ensure that the close-out netting right acquired before the actual start of insolvency proceedings, remains unaffected.

Cherry-picking risk

The Insolvency Act sets out a general rule in terms of which a contract not fully performed (executory contracts) at the moment of insolvency proceedings begin, will result in the insolvency administrator having the power to either (i) reject the performance of the contract by the insolvency debtor, or (ii) perform and request performance of the contract by the counterparty. If the administrator suspends the performance of the contract, the creditor would have a claim against the insolvency estate as an unsecured insolvency creditor. As a result of this general rule, the insolvency administrator might be able to “cherry-pick” certain beneficial transactions and request their full performance while rejecting performance of the others.

Nevertheless, the Insolvency Act recognises the concept of netting and early termination (including AET) on the basis of a master agreement (as a single agreement), which would facilitate the termination of underlying transactions by opening of the insolvency proceedings. And so, it may be argued that the risk of successful cherry-picking by the insolvency administrator is minimal, especially if AET has been agreed to.

Build-up prohibition

The Insolvency Act also provides for certain situations in which netting in insolvency is not enforceable. The set-off (and hence close-out netting), would not be permitted: (i) if the creditor acquired or became entitled to the claim concerned within six months before the filling of the petition for initiation of the insolvency proceedings, provided that the creditor knew or ought to have known that the debtor is insolvent or over-indebted, or (ii) if the creditor acquired the right to set-off its claim through a voidable preferential transaction.

The restriction under (i) above does not apply if a creditor acquired, or became entitled to the respective claim in connection with settlement of unperformed contracts, or the successful challenge of a legal action or transaction of the insolvency debtor. This build-up prohibition would however prevent a solvent party from buying discounted claims of third parties against the insolvent party just for the purpose of setting them off.

New bank resolution rules

Recent amendments to the Serbian Banking Act (Zakon o bankama) have transposed certain elements of the EU Bank Recovery and Resolution Directive (Directive 2014/59/EU on the recovery and resolution of credit institutions), including a netting safeguard for counterparties in financial transactions. The Banking Act now provides for this safeguard in the exercise of a resolution tool over a bank by the resolution authority (the Serbian Central Bank). It is not possible to transfer only a part of rights and liabilities under a title transfer financial collateral arrangement, a settlement arrangement, or a netting arrangement concluded by the bank, that may be subject to settlement or netting, nor is it possible to require the modification and/or termination of contractual provisions governing these rights and liabilities, through the use of ancillary rights based on these arrangements, because of the initiation of the resolution procedure or transfer effected in this procedure.

In relation to mutual claims arising out of or in connection with framework financial agreements (eg, the ISDA Master Agreement) entered into prior to the initiation of insolvency proceedings, the close-out netting right should be enforceable even if it is acquired after the initiation of insolvency proceedings against the debtor, but not later than the moment of opening of the insolvency proceedings.

1
Insolvency proceedings are initiated when a creditor, insolvency debtor, or a liquidation administrator files a motion for the initiation of insolvency proceedings to the competent commercial court. Insolvency proceeding open when the court renders a decision to open the insolvency proceedings.

Pravo na netiranje potraživanja u stečajnom postupku u pravnom sistemu Republike Srbije

Najnoviji Zakon o stečaju i Odluka o obavljanju poslova sa finansijskim derivatima Narodne banke Srbije uvode pravo na prebijanje i netiranje potraživanja u stečajnom postupku u zakonodavni okvir Republike Srbije.

Pravo na prebijanje i netiranje u stečajnom postupku

Zakon o stečaju Republike Srbije od 2009. godine uvodi pravila vezana za prebijanje i netiranje (close-out netting) u stečajnom postupku. Pored toga, Odluka o obavljanju poslova sa finansijskim derivatima, koju je 2011. godine usvojila Narodna banka Srbije, uopšteno predviđa da se po poslovima s finansijskim derivatima mogu prebijati međusobna potraživanja ugovornih strana, npr. u slučaju raskida ugovora zbog neizvršavanja obaveze ugovorne strane, kao i u drugim ugovorenim slučajevima.

Poverilac ima pravo na otkazivanje transakcije i obračun i prebijanje ostvarene dobiti ili gubitaka pod sledećim uslovima:

• okvirni ugovor je zaključen pre pokretanja stečajnog postupka;

• poverilac je stekao pravo na prebijanje i netiranje u skladu sa okvirnim ugovorom najkasnije u trenutku otvaranja stečajnog postupka;

• netiranje je izvršeno ili (i) automatski ili (ii) putem dostavljanja obaveštenja stečajnom dužniku u roku od tri dana od dana otvaranja stečajnog postupka; i

• pravo na netiranje je stečeno po osnovu (i) postojanja stečajnog razloga kod druge strane, (ii) podnošenja predloga za pokretanje stečajnog postupka nad drugom stranom ili (iii) otvaranja stečajnog postupka nad drugom stranom.

Stoga kada je reč o međusobnim potraživanjima nastalim po osnovu ili u vezi sa okvirnim finansijskim ugovorima (kao što je, npr, Okvirni ugovor ISDA (ISDA Master Agreement)) zaključenim pre pokretanja stečaja, netiranje potraživanja trebalo bi da bude moguće čak i ako je stečeno nakon pokretanja stečajnog postupka nad dužnikom, ali najkasnije do trenutka otvaranja stečajnog postupka.“1

Netiranje se vrši na jedan od sledećih načina:

• automatski, ipso facto, ako je Okvirnim ugovorom ISDA predviđen automatski prevremeni raskid ugovora (tzv. Automatic Early Termination klauzula); ili

• dostavljanjem obaveštenja stečajnom dužniku najkasnije u roku od tri dana od dana otvaranja stečajnog postupka.

Poverilac zbog ovako kratkog trodnevnog roka i povezanih troškova nadzora može razmotriti mogućnost da ugovori automatski prevremeni raskid svih predmetnih transakcija po podnošenju predloga za pokretanje stečajnog postupka, kako bi obezbedio da pravo na netiranje stečeno pre samog otvaranja stečajnog postupka ne bude ugroženo.

Pravo na izbor u slučaju dvostranoteretnog ugovora

Zakonom o stečaju predviđeno je opšte pravilo u skladu sa kojim, u slučaju da dvostranoteretni ugovor nije u celosti izvršen u trenutku otvaranja stečajnog postupka, stečajni upravnik može ili (i) odbiti ispunjenje ugovora od strane stečajnog dužnika ili (ii) ispuniti ugovor i tražiti ispunjenje od druge strane. Ako stečajni upravnik odbije ispunjenje ugovora, poverilac može ostvariti svoje potraživanje iz stečajne mase kao neobezbeđeni stečajni poverilac. Usled primene tog opšteg pravila, stečajni upravnik može biti postavljen u situaciju da može selektivno da bira (cherry-pick) određene povoljne transakcije i zahteva njihovo ispunjenje u celosti, a da odbije ispunjenje ostalih transakcija.

Ipak, s obzorom da Zakon o stečaju priznaje koncept netiranja i prevremenog raskida (uključujući i automatski prevremeni raskid) po osnovu okvirnog ugovora (kao jedinstvenog ugovora), koji olakšava raskid relevantnih transakcija otvaranjem stečajnog postupka, rizik da će stečajni upravnik moći uspešno da selektivno bira transakcije može se smatrati minimalnim, naročito ako je ugovoren automatski prevremeni raskid.

Slučajevi kada je prebijanje nedopušteno

Zakonom o stečaju predviđeni su i slučajevi kada prebijanje u stečajnom postupku nije dopušteno. Prebijanje (a time i netiranje) u stečajnom postupku nije dopušteno: (i) ako je stečajni poverilac potraživanje ili pravo na potraživanje stekao u poslednjih šest meseci pre dana podnošenja predloga za pokretanje stečajnog postupka, a stečajni poverilac je znao ili je morao znati da je dužnik nesposoban za plaćanje ili da je prezadužen, ili (ii) ako su se uslovi za prebijanje stekli pravnim poslom ili drugom pravnom radnjom koja se može pobijati.

Ograničenje iz prethodne tačke (i) ne važi ako je poverilac stekao ili ostvario pravo na predmetna potraživanja koja se odnose na ispunjenje neizvršenih ugovora ili potraživanje kome je vraćeno pravno dejstvo uspešnim pobijanjem pravnog posla ili druge pravne radnje stečajnog dužnika. Ova zabrana bi, međutim, sprečila solventnu stranu da preuzme diskontovana potraživanja trećih lica prema strani nesposobnoj za plaćanje isključivo u cilju prebijanja istih.

Nova pravila o restrukturiranju banaka

Nedavnim izmenama i dopunama Zakona o bankama Republike Srbije prenose se pojedini elementi evropske Direktive o oporavku i restrukturiranju banaka (Direktiva broj 2014/59/EU o utvrđivanju okvira za oporavak i restrukturiranje kreditnih institucija i investicionih društava), uključujući i meru zaštite netiranja druge strane u finansijskim transakcijama. Zakonom o bankama sada je predviđen takav instrument za sprovođenje restrukturiranja od strane tela nadležnog za restrukturiranje banaka (Narodne banke Srbije), pri čemu nije moguće preneti samo deo prava i obaveza iz ugovora o finansijskom obezbeđenju prenosa prava svojine, ugovora o poravnanju ili ugovora o netiranju zaključenog od strane banke koja može biti predmet poravnanja ili netiranja, niti je moguće, korišćenjem dodatnih prava po osnovu tih ugovora, zahtevati izmenu i/ili ukidanje ugovornih odredaba kojima se ta prava i obaveze uređuju zbog pokretanja postupka restrukturiranja ili prenosa izvršenog u okviru tog postupka.

Kada je reč o međusobnim potraživanjima nastalim po osnovu ili u vezi sa okvirnim finansijskim ugovorima (kao što je, npr, Okvirni ugovor ISDA) zaključenim pre pokretanja stečaja, pravo na netiranje potraživanja trebalo bi da bude moguće čak i ako je stečeno nakon pokretanja stečajnog postupka nad dužnikom, ali najkasnije do trenutka otvaranja stečajnog postupka.

1
Stečajni postupak smatra se pokrenutim kada poverilac, stečajni dužnik ili stečajni upravnik podnese predlog za pokretanje stečajnog postupka nadležnom privrednom sudu. Stečajni postupak smatra se otvorenim kada sud donese rešenje o otvaranju stečajnog postupka.