17 CFR § 190.04 - Operation of the debtor's estate - customer property.

§ 190.04 Operation of the debtor's estate - customer property.

(a) Transfers -

(1) All cases. The trustee for a commodity broker shall promptly use its best efforts to effect a transfer in accordance with § 190.07(c) and (d) no later than the seventh calendar day after the order for relief of the open commodity contracts and property held by the commodity broker for or on behalf of its public customers.

(2) Involuntary cases. A commodity broker against which an involuntary petition in bankruptcy is filed, or the trustee if a trustee has been appointed in such case, shall use its best efforts to effect a transfer in accordance with § 190.07(c) and (d) of all open commodity contracts and property held by the commodity broker for or on behalf of its public customers and such other property as the Commission in its discretion may authorize, on or before the seventh calendar day after the filing date, and immediately cease doing business; provided, however, that if the commodity broker demonstrates to the Commission within such period that it was in compliance with the segregation and financial requirements of this chapter on the filing date, and the Commission determines, in its sole discretion, that such transfer is neither appropriate nor in the public interest, the commodity broker may continue in business subject to applicable provisions of the Bankruptcy Code and of this chapter.

(b) Treatment of open commodity contracts -

(1) Payments by the trustee. Prior to the primary liquidation date, the trustee may make payments of initial margin and variation settlement to a clearing organization, commodity broker, foreign clearing organization, or foreign futures intermediary, carrying the account of the debtor, pending the transfer, or liquidation of any open commodity contracts, whether or not such contracts are specifically identifiable property of a particular customer, provided, that:

(i) To the extent within the trustee's control, the trustee shall not make any payments on behalf of any commodity contract account on the books and records of the debtor that is in deficit; provided, however, that the provision in this paragraph (b)(1) shall not be construed to prevent a clearing organization, foreign clearing organization, futures commission merchant, or foreign futures intermediary carrying an account of the debtor from exercising its rights to the extent permitted under applicable law;

(ii) Any margin payments made by the trustee with respect to a specific customer account shall not exceed the funded balance for that account;

(iii) The trustee shall not make any payments on behalf of non-public customers of the debtor from funds that are segregated for the benefit of public customers;

(iv) If the trustee receives payments from a customer in response to a margin call, then to the extent within the trustee's control, the trustee must use such payments to make margin payments for the open commodity contract positions of such customer;

(v) The trustee may not use payments received from one public customer to meet the margin (or any other) obligations of any other customer; and

(vi) If funds segregated for the benefit of public customers in a particular account class exceed the aggregate net equity claims for all public customers in such account class, the trustee may use such excess funds to meet the margin obligations for any public customer in such account class whose account is under-margined (as described in paragraph (b)(4) of this section) but not in deficit, provided that the trustee issues a margin call to such customer and provided further that the trustee shall liquidate such customer's open commodity contracts if the customer fails to make the margin payment within a reasonable time as provided in paragraph (b)(4) of this section.

(2) Margin calls. The trustee (or, prior to appointment of the trustee, the debtor against which an involuntary petition was filed) may issue a margin call to any public customer whose commodity contract account contains open commodity contracts if such account is under-margined.

(3) Margin payments by the customer. The full amount of any margin payment by a customer in response to a margin call under paragraph (b)(2) of this section must be credited to the funded balance of the particular account for which it was made.

(4) Trustee obligation to liquidate certain open commodity contracts. The trustee shall, as soon as practicable under the circumstances, liquidate all open commodity contracts in any commodity contract account that is in deficit, or for which any mark-to-market calculation would result in a deficit, or for which the customer fails to meet a margin call made by the trustee within a reasonable time. Except as otherwise provided in this part, absent exigent circumstances, a reasonable time for meeting margin calls made by the trustee shall be deemed to be one hour, or such greater period not to exceed one business day, as the trustee may determine in its sole discretion.

(5) Partial liquidation of open commodity contracts by others. In the event that a clearing organization, foreign clearing organization, futures commission merchant, foreign futures intermediary, or other person carrying a commodity customer account for the debtor in the nature of an omnibus account has liquidated only a portion of open commodity contracts in such account, the trustee will exercise reasonable business judgment in assigning the liquidating transactions to the underlying commodity customer accounts carried by the debtor. Specifically, the trustee should endeavor to assign the contracts as follows: First, to liquidate open commodity contracts in a risk-reducing manner in any accounts that are in deficit; second, to liquidate open commodity contracts in a risk-reducing manner in any accounts that are undermargined; third, to liquidate open commodity contracts in a risk-reducing manner in any other accounts, and finally to liquidate any remaining open commodity contracts in any accounts. If more than one commodity contract account reflects open commodity contracts in a particular account class for which liquidating transactions have been executed, the trustee shall to the extent practicable allocate the liquidating transactions to such commodity contract accounts pro rata based on the number of open commodity contracts of such commodity contract accounts. For purposes of this section, the term “a risk-reducing manner” is measured by margin requirements set using the margin methodology and parameters followed by the derivatives clearing organization at which such contracts are cleared.

(c) Contracts moving into delivery position. After entry of the order for relief and subject to paragraph (a) of this section, which requires the trustee to attempt to make transfers to other commodity brokers permitted by § 190.07 and section 764(b) of the Bankruptcy Code, the trustee shall use its best efforts to liquidate any open commodity contract that settles upon expiration or exercise via the making or taking of delivery of a commodity:

(1) If such contract is a futures contract or a cleared swaps contract, before the earlier of the last trading day or the first day on which notice of intent to deliver may be tendered with respect thereto, or otherwise before the debtor or its customer incurs an obligation to make or take delivery of the commodity under such contract;

(2) If such contract is a long option on a commodity and has value, before the first date on which the contract could be automatically exercised or the last date on which the contract could be exercised if not subject to automatic exercise; or

(3) If such contract is a short option on a commodity that is in-the-money in favor of the long position holder, before the first date on which the long option position could be exercised.

(d) Liquidation or offset. After entry of the order for relief and subject to paragraph (a) of this section, which requires the trustee to attempt to make transfers to other commodity brokers permitted by § 190.07 and section 764(b) of the Bankruptcy Code, and except as otherwise set forth in this paragraph (d), the following commodity contracts and other property held by or for the account of a debtor must be liquidated in the market in accordance with paragraph (e)(1) of this section or liquidated via book entry in accordance with paragraph (e)(2) of this section by the trustee promptly and in an orderly manner:

(1) Open commodity contracts. All open commodity contracts, except for:

(i) Commodity contracts that are specifically identifiable property (if applicable) and are subject to customer instructions to transfer (in lieu of liquidating) as provided in § 190.03(c)(2), provided that the customer is in compliance with the terms of § 190.09(d)(2); and

(ii) Open commodity contract positions that are in a delivery position, which shall be treated in accordance with the provisions of § 190.06.

(2) Specifically identifiable property, other than open commodity contracts or physical delivery property. Specifically identifiable property, other than open commodity contracts or physical delivery property, to the extent that:

(i) The fair market value of such property is less than 75% of its fair market value on the date of entry of the order for relief;

(ii) Failure to liquidate the specifically identifiable property may result in a deficit balance in the applicable customer account; or

(iii) The trustee has not received instructions to return pursuant to § 190.03(c)(1), or has not returned such property upon the terms contained in § 190.09(d)(1).

(3) Letters of credit. The trustee may request that a customer deliver substitute customer property with respect to any letter of credit received, acquired, or held to margin, guarantee, secure, purchase, or sell a commodity contract, whether the letter of credit is held by the trustee on behalf of the debtor's estate or a derivatives clearing organization or a foreign intermediary or foreign clearing organization on a pass-through or other basis, including in cases where the letter of credit has expired since the date of the order for relief. The amount of the request may equal the full face amount of the letter of the credit or any portion thereof, to the extent required or may be required in the trustee's discretion to ensure pro rata treatment among customer claims within each account class, consistent with §§ 190.08 and 190.09.

(i) If a customer fails to provide substitute customer property within a reasonable time specified by the trustee, the trustee may, if the letter of credit has not expired, draw upon the full amount of the letter of credit or any portion thereof.

(ii) For any letter of credit referred to in this paragraph (d)(3), the trustee shall treat any portion that is not drawn upon (less the value of any substitute customer property delivered by the customer) as having been distributed to the customer for purposes of calculating entitlements to distribution or transfer. The expiration of the letter of credit on or at any time after the date of the order for relief shall not affect such calculation.

(iii) Any proceeds of a letter of credit drawn by the trustee, or substitute customer property posted by a customer, shall be considered customer property in the account class applicable to the original letter of credit.

(iv) The trustee shall, in exercising their discretion with regard to addressing letters of credit, including as to the timing and amount of a request for substitute customer property, endeavor to mitigate, to the extent practicable, the adverse effects upon customers that have posted letters of credit, in a manner that achieves pro rata treatment among customer claims.

(4) All other property. All other property, other than physical delivery property held for delivery in accordance with the provisions of § 190.06, which is not required to be transferred or returned pursuant to customer instructions and which has not been liquidated in accordance with paragraphs (d)(1) through (3) of this section.

(e) Liquidation of open commodity contracts -

(1) By the trustee or a clearing organization in the market -

(i) Debtor as a clearing member. For open commodity contracts cleared by the debtor as a member of a clearing organization, the trustee or clearing organization, as applicable, shall liquidate such open commodity contracts pursuant to the rules of the clearing organization, a designated contract market, or a swap execution facility, if and as applicable. Any such rules providing for liquidation other than on the open market shall be designed to achieve, to the extent feasible under market conditions at the time of liquidation, a process for liquidating open commodity contracts that results in competitive pricing. For open commodity contracts that are futures or options on futures that were established on or subject to the rules of a foreign board of trade and cleared by the debtor as a member of a foreign clearing organization, the trustee shall liquidate such open commodity contracts pursuant to the rules of the foreign clearing organization or foreign board of trade or, in the absence of such rules, in the manner the trustee determines appropriate.

(ii) Debtor not a clearing member. For open commodity contracts submitted by the debtor for clearing through one or more accounts established with a futures commission merchant (as defined in § 1.3 of this chapter) or foreign futures intermediary, the trustee shall use commercially reasonable efforts to liquidate the open commodity contracts to achieve competitive pricing, to the extent feasible under market conditions at the time of liquidation and subject to any rules or orders of the relevant clearing organization, foreign clearing organization, designated contract market, swap execution facility, or foreign board of trade governing the liquidation of open commodity contracts.

(2) By the trustee or a clearing organization via book entry offset. Upon application by the trustee or clearing organization, the Commission may permit open commodity contracts to be liquidated, or settlement on such contracts to be made, by book entry. Such book entry shall offset open commodity contracts, whether matched or not matched on the books of the commodity broker, using the settlement price for such commodity contracts as determined by the clearing organization in accordance with its rules. Such rules shall be designed to establish, to the extent feasible under market conditions at the time of liquidation, such settlement prices in a competitive manner.

(3) By a futures commission merchant or foreign futures intermediary. For open commodity contracts cleared by the debtor through one or more accounts established with a futures commission merchant or a foreign futures intermediary, such futures commission merchant or foreign futures intermediary may exercise any enforceable contractual rights it has to liquidate such commodity contracts, provided, that it shall use commercially reasonable efforts to liquidate the open commodity contracts to achieve competitive pricing, to the extent feasible under market conditions at the time of liquidation and subject to any rules or orders of the relevant clearing organization, foreign clearing organization, designated contract market, swap execution facility, or foreign board of trade governing its liquidation of such open commodity contracts. If a futures commission merchant or foreign futures intermediary fails to use commercially reasonable efforts to liquidate open commodity contracts to achieve competitive pricing in accordance with this paragraph (e)(3), the trustee may seek damages reflecting the difference between the price (or prices) at which the relevant commodity contracts would have been liquidated using commercially reasonable efforts to achieve competitive pricing and the price (or prices) at which the commodity contracts were liquidated, which shall be the sole remedy available to the trustee. In no event shall any such liquidation be voided.

(4) Liquidation only.

(i) Nothing in this part shall be interpreted to permit the trustee to purchase or sell new commodity contracts for the debtor or its customers except to offset open commodity contracts or to transfer any transferable notice received by the debtor or the trustee under any commodity contract; provided, however, that the trustee may, in its discretion and with approval of the Commission, cover uncovered inventory or commodity contracts of the debtor which cannot be liquidated immediately because of price limits or other market conditions, or may take an offsetting position in a new month or at a strike price for which limits have not been reached.

(ii) Notwithstanding paragraph (e)(4)(i) of this section, the trustee may, with the written permission of the Commission, operate the business of the debtor in the ordinary course, including the purchase or sale of new commodity contracts on behalf of the customers of the debtor under appropriate circumstances, as determined by the Commission.

(f) Long option contracts. Subject to paragraphs (d) and (e) of this section, the trustee shall use its best efforts to assure that a commodity contract that is a long option contract with value does not expire worthless.

The following state regulations pages link to this page.