ISDA Agreement Litigation
Rich, Intelisano & Katz represents investors worldwide in disputes with financial firms where the investment product is governed by an ISDA agreement. The Master ISDA agreement has become the standard form contract used by institutions to trade complex derivative and swap transactions with each other. While useful in facilitating such institutional trading, such agreements are subject to abuse when they purport to document legal rights, disclose risks and confirm suitability when the complex products that they govern are sold by financial firms to non-institutional investors who may have little or no understanding of this highly complex, mathematically dense and lengthy agreement. The ISDA agreement is readily tailored by financial firms to limit investors’ rights improperly or without proper disclosure. For example, if an SEC registered financial firm decides to sell a derivative subject to an ISDA agreement through an unregistered affiliate, then the agreement will typically provide for exclusive jurisdiction over any dispute in court in New York or the United Kingdom, thus attempting to circumvent the investors’ rights to arbitration at FINRA.
The Firm presently represents a family office in a $383 million FINRA arbitration claim in New York against Citigroup Global Markets Inc. related to Citigroup’s misconduct with respect to the structuring, monitoring and handling of hedge fund and private equity portfolios, and the improper recommendation and implementation of a leveraged option swap transaction, pursuant to an ISDA agreement, and a lender protected unit trust.
The Firm handled a $15 million dispute on behalf of a fuel and heating oil company against an international broker dealer related to the purchase of OTC derivatives, including swaps and options, pursuant to an ISDA agreement.