At the same time as the timetable, the framework agreement defines all the general conditions necessary for the proper distribution of the risks of transactions between the parties, but does not contain specific terms and conditions for a particular transaction. Once the framework agreement has been concluded, the parties can enter into numerous transactions by agreeing to the essential terms and conditions over the telephone, as confirmed in writing, without the need to re-consider the terms of the framework agreement. The framework contract allows the parties to calculate their net financial commitment in over-the-counter transactions, i.e. a party calculates the difference between what it owes to a counterparty under a master contract and what the consideration owes under the same agreement. Over-the-counter derivatives are traded between two parties, not through an exchange or intermediary. The size of the over-the-counter market means that risk managers must carefully review traders and ensure that authorized transactions are properly managed. When two parties complete a transaction, they will each receive confirmation explaining their details and referring to the signed agreement. The terms of the ISDA master contract then cover the transaction. In 1987, ISDA established three documents: (i) a standard form control agreement for U.S. dollar interest rate swaps; (ii) a standard-master contract for multi-currency interest rate and exchange rate swaps (known as the “1987 ISDA Executive Contract”); and (iii) definitions of interest rates and currencies.
The framework contract is quite long and the negotiation process can be difficult, but once a framework contract is signed, the documentation of future transactions between parties will be reduced to a brief confirmation of the essential terms of the transaction. The ISDA Masteragrement, published by the International Swaps and Derivatives Association, is the most widely used master service contract for otC derivatives transactions internationally. It is part of a documentary framework that aims to provide comprehensive and flexible documentation on OVER-the-counter derivatives. The framework consists of a master contract, a calendar, confirmations, definition brochures and credit support documentation. The framework agreement and timetable define the reasons why one party may impose the closure of covered transactions due to the appearance of a termination event by the other party. Standard termination events include defaults or bankruptcy. Other closing events that can be added to the calendar include a downgrade of credit data below a specified level. This uniform approach to the agreement is an integral part of the structure and part of the network-based protection offered by the framework agreement.