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Current Challenges in Counterparty Collateral Management Informational Presentation for our Clients April 2008 PwC.

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Presentation on theme: "Current Challenges in Counterparty Collateral Management Informational Presentation for our Clients April 2008 PwC."— Presentation transcript:

1 Current Challenges in Counterparty Collateral Management Informational Presentation for our Clients April 2008 PwC

2 PricewaterhouseCoopers Collateral Management Challenges & Opportunities 1 Table of Contents Page 1. Point of view 2 2. Why firms are concerned 4 3. Key issues & opportunities 9 4. Industry environment Likely regulatory response Suggested approach Case studies Summary Appendix PwC contacts24

3 PricewaterhouseCoopers Collateral Management Challenges & Opportunities 2 Point of view The recent turmoil in the credit markets has highlighted significant errors and shortfalls in CM operations. These errors have translated into material actual losses and sizable additional exposure which is under-reported to management, hence undermining the risk management benefits of collateral management. Significant operational challenges persist Although the role of collateral is straightforward, the volume, diversity and complexity of collateralized transactions have surpassed the scalability and flexibility of processes, people and technology that support the function. Credit and operational risks are significant Besides the direct impact of increased counterparty default exposure, underperforming CM functions may also cause or mask significant hidden risks such as portfolio concentration, flawed credit and customer data, and substandard or missing legal documentation – creating potentially dangerous latent exposures. The benefits of technology advances and the adoption of industry standards have been limited Bullish statements from Industry groups such as ISDA may over-state the degree to which derivatives-related CM operational issues have been reduced or eliminated by technology, e.g., the adoption of uniform confirmation and call practices. Our experience confirms that some large banks continue to experience high exception rates and difficulty processing collateral calls in a timely manner, and that root-cause remediation of these on-going challenges is difficult and costly. Many banks’ CM functions have not sufficiently evolved to support complex OTC derivatives A primary cause of substandard CM performance may lie in the historically low-profile role this cross-departmental function played in most investment banks, prior to the widespread use of complex OTC derivatives. The function may have been designed to support activities such as FX forwards and vanilla repos, where collateral movements were straightforward, products were simple, and there was a relatively small and static base of well-known customers. Management’s attention was distracted during market expansion The boom market for OTC derivatives and credit risk transfer products from saw dramatic revenue growth and constant competitive pressures to deliver innovative products and to increase leverage for hedge fund clients. This may have distracted management’s attention from the growing insufficiency of CM resources and operating models to service the rapidly increasing counterparty exposure.

4 PricewaterhouseCoopers Collateral Management Challenges & Opportunities 3 Point of view CM operations are challenged to keep pace with product volume and diversity growth Faced with myriad new and different derivative transactions and a continuous flow of new hedge fund counterparties, CM organizations and IT systems proved unable to change and scale quickly enough to keep up with marketplace demands. This has resulted in backlogs of tasks and documentation, significant data quality issues, and bottom line underperformance and unwanted counterparty default exposure, in the form of insufficiently called and/or ineligible collateral. Recent market events have led to greater management scrutiny of operational practices The credit crunch and market turmoil which began in 2007 have cast a harsh light on the requirement to measure, manage and mitigate counterparty exposure, particularly with respect to highly leveraged counterparties and/or less liquid underlying reference securities. Many financial services firms are aggressively seeking to remedy previous oversights and rapidly mitigate excess counterparty exposure – and to get better management intelligence on all credit risks. Regulatory focus is inevitable Regulators are aware of the operational weaknesses in collateralized derivative transactions and are likely to scrutinize these functions closely during financial soundness examinations – or on a targeted basis, if a major default event occurs. Sustainable operation model changes will bring benefits A focus on end-to-end data management and data quality assurance – not only fixing errors in the current CM data environment, but equally importantly, developing sustainable changes to the operating model to maintain data integrity moving forward – can offer significant benefits as banks seek to overhaul and transform their CM operations. Scalability and adaptability are key in responding to the complexity of collateralized transactions Longer term, firms that participate in large volumes of collateralized transactions are seeking to restructure their CM operating models – including people, processes, enabling IT systems and data management practices – to achieve scalability and adaptability appropriate to the elevated complexity of collateralized transactions in today’s capital markets. At the same time, firms are beginning to assess the need for more disciplined new product approval processes in order to make better informed decisions about the total lifecycle costs to support the exotic derivative or credit risk product du jour, instead of assuming ‘all new products are good new products.’ Bottom Line: Often the risk is not apparent until it’s too late to react (e.g., the counterparty has defaulted). Strong risk managers are placing the spotlight on their CM operations to ensure they are adequately protected and to prevent further actual dollars being lost.

5 PricewaterhouseCoopers Collateral Management Challenges & Opportunities 4 How we got here… Why firms are concerned Collateral management effectively reduced credit losses during the Asia, Russia and Hedge Fund ‘crisis’ in 1997/98. The complexity of unraveling the complex web of trades in a crisis today would be unprecedented and may have been one of the prompts for government intervention in the market recently Market characteristics at that time: International Swaps and Derivatives Association (ISDA) estimated $200bn collateral assets High thresholds linked to credit worthiness Calendar driven MTM margin calls – straightforward calculations Weekly/monthly margin frequency Single product margining Standard ISDA/Global Master Repo Agreement contract terms Collateral types: cash, govt bonds Market characteristics currently: ISDA estimates >$1 trillion in collateral assets Wide range of CP creditworthiness and thresholds Market driven margin calls – complex formulas Daily/intra-day margin calls Portfolio margining Client driven contract terms Collateral securities include corporate bonds, equities Sources: ISDA, PwC research

6 PricewaterhouseCoopers Collateral Management Challenges & Opportunities 5 Overtaxed operations and collateral management processes have led to many millions of dollars in collateral deficiencies Explosive growth of derivative volumes, cheap funding and upward biased asset prices drove a period where core risk mitigation received less focus than revenue and market share growth. In such a climate, front office focused on product innovation and market share – there was minimal incentive to follow a disciplined new product approval and rollout process which would have better assured that support functions like CM could accommodate structures and meet volume expectations. Key data like collateral agreement terms & conditions and trade upfront amounts have been captured incorrectly, late, or not at all. Automation and straight through processing (STP) tools for CM and associated trade types are not as mature as those for cash trade processing and most firms choose to build in-house tools which may lack technical flexibility and may become overly dependent upon the key personnel who support and maintain them. Why firms are concerned Growth of value of estimated collateral 2000 to Year Billions of US$ Source: ISDA Margin Survey 2007Source: ISDA Operations Survey 2007 Average reported monthly deal volume 2005 to Year Number of trades

7 PricewaterhouseCoopers Collateral Management Challenges & Opportunities 6 The landscape has changed significantly in the last ten years Why firms are concerned DimensionThen (FX, repos, IRS were dominant collateralized transactions) Now (Complex OTC derivatives dominant; larger volumes of all collateralized transactions) Margin CalculationsVanilla – Single product margining Mature, standardized affirmation, comparison and settlement process Single product margining Complex – portfolio margining Non Standard – Model/market driven Portfolio margining/cross margining Data ManagementNarrow range of asset types on handful of front office systems Relatively simple data management Limited Dependencies Upstream Dependencies – capture of non- standard terms Product innovation has led to multiple asset types on wide range of front office systems Multiple agreement types Front office modification of standard T’s & C’s Portfolio Risk Management Hedged products were largely cash/FX based Collateral was cash and short duration government debt Rapid, unbounded product diversification Cross border activity Wide range of security types, quality and maturities accepted as collateral Customer ExperienceConsistent experience Low employee turnover Infrequent customer/broker relationship changes Inconsistent experience – high staff turnover Staff skill level exceeded in some areas Inadequate training given complexity of products Constant flow of new clients

8 PricewaterhouseCoopers Collateral Management Challenges & Opportunities 7 Increased complexity has led to breakdowns throughout the operations and collateral management life cycle and… Why firms are concerned Sources: SWIFT, PwC Set up legal framework People: Training, Standardization, Quality AssuranceTechnology: Efficient document management and indexing Initiate the transaction Front office system rationalization and >99% day one captureEliminate IT bottlenecks which inhibit timely upfront calls Settle the collateral Performance metrics and real-time risk management Manage collateral (margin calls, reconciliation, substitutions, etc.) Improved STP technology – designed to support the business objectives end-to-end Close the transaction Leverage industry tools, messaging protocols (FpML) and settlement utilities Trades not Timely captured Missing Agreements Inefficient processes Poor upstream data = Inaccurate margin calcs Upfronts not called Collateral not returned by deadline on closed transactions = poor client experience Standardize process Establish or clarify data ownership

9 PricewaterhouseCoopers Collateral Management Challenges & Opportunities 8 …Technology infrastructure supporting operations, including collateral management, is often inadequate to identify and/or control risks Why firms are concerned … Legal Trade Whse Credit CMS Trade input systems (numerous, inconsistent and not fungible) Other collateral systems for Prime Brokerage, Private Clients… Legal documentation system (CSA, ISDA) Credit system (CSA, ISDA) Trade data warehouse Settlement Collateral Management System Trade settlement system Cash Manager Cash Manager – Routes cash movements to payments system Corrections of trades incorrectly routed     Incomplete trade data causing inaccurate portfolio margin calculations Inaccurately captured terms, conditions, thresholds, currencies, MTAs, collateral types etc Untimely, inaccurate collateral requests Improper netting Trades not timely input Trade terms not captured Upfront amounts never calculated

10 PricewaterhouseCoopers Collateral Management Challenges & Opportunities 9 So what are the key issues and what can clients do Key issues & opportunities Key IssueImpactOpportunity Poorly controlled and/or inconsistently executed customer on-boarding/ legal/credit processes Significant number of missing, outdated, incomplete, or legally ineffective documents Conduct a fast track, risk based remediation effort to inventory and resolve discrepancies Document management and indexing systems lack required flexibility to capture all relevant T’s &C’s; Contract amendments not consistently captured in terms database Incorrect downstream calculations leading to inaccurate collateral calls Re-align people, processes and technology resources to properly support the business going forward – a fancy document management solution won’t solve core process issues by itself Changes negotiated to ISDA boilerplate language/non-standard variances to terms and parameters agreed Unnecessary process complexity to handle rare and/or marginally useful variances to standardized contracts Streamline document workflow and reduce number of routinely allowed changes Incomplete/inconsistent deal data flow to collateral management systems on Trade Date Upfront calls not timely issued; incorrect portfolio netting calculations Get control over trade data flow; establish and use daily metrics to monitor process integrity Upfronts and MTMs not properly valued, leading to under-margined exposure Excess counterparty default riskImprove upstream data processes to drive accurate margin and collateral calls; identify and remedy shortfalls Lack of visibility on actual risk of aggregate collateral pool, e.g. by asset class, rating, issuer Potentially unmanaged market and portfolio exposure if undue concentrations exist Monitor and manage these types of exposure to reduce risk Inconsistent customer experiences due to information quality and staff training issues Poor client service, reputational riskRestructure customer –facing CM roles and functions to improve quality and consistency

11 PricewaterhouseCoopers Collateral Management Challenges & Opportunities 10 Because the OTC Derivative space is mostly unregulated, there is a wide performance gap between the ‘best’ and the ‘worst’ firms. Industry Environment DimensionGlobal Investment Bank AGlobal Prime Broker BGlobal Investment Bank C Consistent and accurate terms & conditions data across multiple functional groups (e.g., Front Office, Legal, Credit, and Middle Office) Poor – 100% error rate, dozens of agreement templates, data quality not managed Fewer standard forms, management limits non-standard language Proactive limits on non-standard language changes Sole source database with clear owner Accurate and timely independent price verification of collateral Mainly manual – some stale prices and marks Some automationUse of automated price feeds Timely collection of collateral including margin calls and upfronts Widely variable by product typeMediumConsistent and measured Time required to react to credit events and counterparty deterioration Slow – multiple daysTypically next business daySame day Monitoring and regulatory reporting capabilitiesSignificant gaps in all relevant data sets = inaccurate reports/metrics End-of-day batch process, fewer data issues Near real time margin calculation abilities Collection of collateral types appropriate to counterparty and market risks being secured Aware of issue, some manual reviews Passive monitoring of correlation matching issues Daily analysis of acceptable collateral types, prompt corrective action Estimated annual technology spend in CM area>$5M$3-$5M>$15M Client Satisfaction RatingPoorMediumGood – Excellent A firm that is effective at collateral management is a firm which has the ability to match its risk objectives with the amount and type of collateral it pledges and receives.

12 PricewaterhouseCoopers Collateral Management Challenges & Opportunities 11 Likely regulatory response Financial Regulators are aware of the systemic risks presented by weak operational processes and practices: -Immature state of OTC derivatives processing and collateral management processes industry-wide cited in US Treasury Dept report to President Bush as a key risk and area for attention (March 2008) -We have strong indications that all risk management and operational functions are going to receive increased scrutiny in the current environment -Regulators are beginning to show interest in operational issues and how they impact the market/credit risk of an entity -Special examinations, including operational processes, are likely to increase at top tier banks in 2Q08 and 3Q08, and we recommend clients be prepared

13 PricewaterhouseCoopers Collateral Management Challenges & Opportunities 12 Suggested approach 3 – 12 months Remediation & Tactical Fixes 9 – 18 months Strategic Solution PeopleEstablish Policy Board, Steering Committee and Working Groups Agree on resourcing approach Deploy data remediation and project management resources Develop current state view of organizational structure, roles and responsibilities Examine linkages of policies back to roles and responsibilities Define organizational roles and responsibilities Draft and agree principles relating to interim changes to Operating Model, e.g. data, sourcing, technology, locations Update procedures and training, including upstream procedures e.g. new product approval processes. Develop and train staff on new procedures Refine enhanced operating model from a process, data, technical, functional and organizational perspective ProcessConfirm project scope Develop project plan and define workstreams Develop workstream project charters Develop data remediation metrics and progress reporting Interpret and assess results and determine remediation priorities Remediate collateral positions Develop current state view of end to end processes Assess exception management and escalation procedures, including cross-departmental procedures Drilldown on targeted areas causing problems and Identify key control breakpoints Perform gap analysis of policies and procedures Define manual and automated workarounds and associated control reporting tools Assess compliance of policies/procedures with regulatory guidelines and identify changes required Implement manual and automated solutions and associated control reporting tools. Embed policies in processing environment Implement exception reporting metrics: -incorrect or stale valuation of exposures -common CSA errors -ratings based downgrade provisions Define future business service offering based on business and operational strategies Utilizing process analysis work completed in earlier phases, identify gaps between current state and enhanced operating process model TechnologyConfirm support required from technology teams Define initial data quality queries Refine/tailor diagnostic query tools Run targeted diagnostic queries Develop current state view of CM system architecture and datawarehousing Assess timeliness and accuracy of system feeds between front/middle/back office Define tactical and strategic IT upgrades Manage “quick win“ and medium term implementation processes with IT Enhance use of automation, workflow and document management options DataReview existing documentation on data sources and reconciliations Confirm data sources and data population Perform standing data quality tests: - Counterparty data - CSA data - Credit risk data Run scenarios/perform reconciliation on: - Marks - Trade level details - Collateral Review data integrity management processes and standards Design cross functional CM data integrity standards and controls, focusing on highest risk/return areas. Implement selected cross functional CM data integrity standards and controls Enhance data warehousing architecture and data integrity management Scoping & Diagnosis Data Clean-up & Remediation Process AnalysisProcess Re-DesignImplementation Continuous Improvement

14 PricewaterhouseCoopers Collateral Management Challenges & Opportunities 13 Collateral Management Data Remediation and Operational Process Redesign Case Study Problem The client was a leading global financial institution Client’s global Collateral Management (CM) group provides essential risk mitigation and client service functions to support the OTC derivatives and securities repurchase agreements (“repo”) businesses. The CM function was struggling with outdated enabling technology, major data management issues, and lack of mature and documented business processes. Collateral calls were not being properly issued, creating over $500 million in unnecessary risk exposure. Recognizing the urgency to address these challenges, the client created a global initiative involving PwC, internal resources and technical temporary resources in London and New York. Approach Working with the client, PwC developed over 50 multi-variable scenario queries to identify and prioritize collateral deficiencies These scenarios were run against the client’s data to identify high impact quick wins as well as to develop a detailed understanding of the failures that were continuing to occur, leading to new defects appearing in the data on a daily basis. We also created an efficient, documented repeatable process to conduct a mass data clean-up effort in ISDA Credit Support Annex documentation. We worked with the client to develop and prioritize near and long-term process improvements to the day-to-day functioning of the global Collateral Management group.

15 PricewaterhouseCoopers Collateral Management Challenges & Opportunities 14 Collateral Management Data Remediation and Operational Process Redesign Case Study Impact and Benefits to the Client We helped the client gain a deep understanding of the population of risks and exposures that exist within its Collateral Management unit – a deep root cause analysis of how the client came to have substantial uncollateralized exposure and what needed to be done to fix it. We helped the client remediate thousands of key data elements in the Collateral Management contract terms system – enabling immediate, significant improvements to the functioning of the Collateral process and the rapid collection of several hundred million dollars in deficient collateral. The client further identified and fixed potential deficiencies (e.g., wrong credit limits, thresholds etc.) which carried aggregate potential exposure in the billions of dollars. Next Steps We are beginning to assist the client in developing and implementing a fundamental re-design, including process re-design and an enhanced technology platform.

16 PricewaterhouseCoopers Collateral Management Challenges & Opportunities 15 In summary Certain clients are experiencing significant error rates and exposures generated from broken operational processes and flawed data – leading to as much as hundreds of millions of dollars in margin deficiencies and untold billions in parameter errors A root cause of the high levels of operational risk and/or actual operational failures can be traced to fragmented processes and siloed systems that can’t keep pace with product and volume growth We recommend that organizations undertake end-to-end operational effectiveness assessments in highly complex product areas Processes need to be re-designed to meet the current and future needs of business and large stores of critical data may need to be remediated Experience shows millions (USD) or more may be at unnecessary risk and can be identified and collected in an early phase of the overall project Summary

17 Appendix What does an effective collateral management operation look like Case Study – Detailed Project Approach

18 PricewaterhouseCoopers Collateral Management Challenges & Opportunities 17 What are some characteristics of an effective collateral management operation Ensuring the right data is uploaded into systems in a timely manner. Maintaining the integrity of the data across various functional groups and their corresponding systems, e.g., reconciliation, data warehousing, data control/governance systems Utilizing the data to price, collect, and track the collateral needed to stay within firm regulated exposure limits, i.e. -Do we have enough collateral to cover our counterparties? -Did we call the correct amount of collateral, based on counterparty ratings, loss given default, potential credit exposure, etc.? -Are we pledging more collateral than is required? Escalating issues where exposure exceeds firms’ acceptable limits due to insufficient collateral Adjusting and responding appropriately to changes in market conditions Ensuring execution aligns with collateral management business strategy, i.e.: -What types of collateral are we holding? -Is it appropriate for the counterparty, given the industry they are in? -Are exposures or counterparty creditworthiness positively or negatively correlated with the type of collateral the counterparty is posting?

19 PricewaterhouseCoopers Collateral Management Challenges & Opportunities 18 Suggested approach 3 – 12 months Remediation & Tactical Fixes 9 – 18 months Strategic Solution PeopleEstablish Policy Board, Steering Committee and Working Groups Agree on resourcing approach Deploy data remediation and project management resources Develop current state view of organizational structure, roles and responsibilities Examine linkages of policies back to roles and responsibilities Define organizational roles and responsibilities Draft and agree principles relating to interim changes to Operating Model, e.g. data, sourcing, technology, locations Update procedures and training, including upstream procedures e.g. new product approval processes. Develop and train staff on new procedures Refine optimal operating model from a process, data, technical, functional and organizational perspective ProcessConfirm project scope Develop project plan and define workstreams Develop workstream project charters Develop data remediation metrics and progress reporting Interpret and assess results and determine remediation priorities Remediate collateral positions Develop current state view of end to end processes Assess exception management and escalation procedures, including cross-departmental procedures Drilldown on targeted areas causing problems and Identify key control breakpoints Perform gap analysis of policies vs procedures Define manual and automated workarounds and associated control reporting tools Assess compliance of policies/procedures with regulatory guidelines and identify changes required Implement manual and automated solutions and associated control reporting tools. Embed policies in processing environment Implement exception reporting metrics: -incorrect or stale valuation of exposures -common CSA errors -ratings based downgrade provisions Define future business service offering based on business and operational strategies Utilizing process analysis work completed in earlier phases, identify gaps between current state and optimal operating process model TechnologyConfirm support required from technology teams Define initial data quality queries Refine/tailor diagnostic query tools Run targeted diagnostic queries Develop current state view of CM system architecture and datawarehousing Assess timeliness and accuracy of system feeds between front/middle/back office Define tactical and strategic IT upgrades Manage “quick win“ and medium term implementation processes with IT Optimize use of automation, workflow and document management options DataReview existing documentation on data sources and reconciliations Confirm data sources and data population Perform standing data quality tests: - Counterparty data - CSA data - Credit risk data Run scenarios/perform reconciliation on: - Marks - Trade level details - Collateral Review data integrity management processes and standards Design cross functional CM data integrity standards and controls, focusing on highest risk/return areas. Implement selected cross functional CM data integrity standards and controls Optimize data warehousing architecture and data integrity management Scoping & Diagnosis Data Clean-up & Remediation Process AnalysisProcess Re-DesignImplementationOptimization

20 PricewaterhouseCoopers Collateral Management Challenges & Opportunities 19 Detailed project timeline Case Study Scoping, planning, stakeholder and key metric reporting definition Confirm data sources and data population Perform selective process mapping Identify key control breakpoints Scoping and Planning Diagnosis and Assessment Data & Collateral Position Remediation Root Cause Analysis Process Redesign Run diagnostic queries Perform comparison of system data to source Credit Support Annex’s (CSA) Interpret and assess results and develop remediation priority list Review results and agree resolution activity with management Perform updates to correct data errors (Manual or IT upload) Remediate collateral positions Report progress and MI on issues identified Develop tactical and strategic process redesign recommendations Time

21 PricewaterhouseCoopers Collateral Management Challenges & Opportunities 20 Diagnostics: Data Scenario Analysis Working with the client, PwC developed over 50 multi-variable scenario queries to identify and prioritize collateral deficiencies We also created an efficient, documented repeatable process to conduct a mass data clean- up effort in ISDA Credit Support Annex documentation Scenarios were run against the client’s data to identify high impact quick wins - for example, customers with live trades and: -No upfront call issued -Stale MTM -Credit MTM ≠ Trade MTM -Out-of-range MTA and threshold values -Wrong call frequency The query results were also used to prioritize strategic (business re-design) objectives based on actual patterns and frequencies of particular kinds of errors and deficiencies A flexible resourcing plan – PwC, client, legal temporary staff – allowed the client to get immediate tangible results while limiting project costs Case study

22 PricewaterhouseCoopers Collateral Management Challenges & Opportunities 21 PwC’s diagnostic analysis enabled the client to collect several hundred million dollars in deficient collateral Case study PwC’s Collateral Diagnostic Tools are designed to quickly and efficiently identify, quantify and help prioritize high impact collateral shortfalls and deficiencies by cause and by client. Outputs can be promptly verified and sent to Margin/Collateral for immediate action during the project Data in the graphic above are simulated and do not reflect any actual client information Call Frequency incorrect 1,572 instances $52 mm Identify Quantify Collect

23 PricewaterhouseCoopers Collateral Management Challenges & Opportunities 22 Representative analysis approach and results Scenario analysis – Update & capture of CSA dataScenario analysis – Trade Data Quality Analysis of instances of incorrect ‘roll up’ of collateral value Distribution of MTAs by Counterparties with no external credit rating: Decreasing Credit Rating Source: Scenarios K5 Distribution of Thresholds Amongst Counterparties with no external rating and an internal rating of ‘No Rating’: Source: Scenarios Z5 Analysis of control risks and policy questions relating to counterparty Minimum Transfer Amounts

24 PricewaterhouseCoopers Collateral Management Challenges & Opportunities 23 Root cause analysis and process re-design Assessment of type and frequency of errors Selective process mapping to identify issues with: -Data fundamentals – definition, ownership, control -Organization design – roles, responsibilities and controls -Processes – streamlining and improving scalability -Technology – use of automation, workflow and document management options Assessment of root cause analysis findings Strategic recommendations based on global industry practice -Phased approach including short-term tactical fixes -Addresses organizational, process and technology issues -Develop and implement enhanced future state Case study

25 PricewaterhouseCoopers Collateral Management Challenges & Opportunities 24 For further information, please contact John Andrew Richard Karen

26 The information contained in this document is for general guidance on matters of interest only. The application and impact of laws can vary widely based on the specific facts involved. Given the changing nature of laws, rules and regulations, there may be omissions or inaccuracies in information contained in this document. This document is provided with the understanding that the authors and publishers are not herein engaged in rendering legal, accounting, tax, or other professional advice and services. It should not be used as a substitute for consultation with professional accounting, tax, legal or other competent advisers. Before making any decision or taking any action, you should consult a PricewaterhouseCoopers professional. Although we believe that the information contained in this document has been obtained from reliable sources, PricewaterhouseCoopers is not responsible for any errors or omissions, or for the results obtained from the use of this information. All information in this document is provided "as is", with no guarantee of completeness, accuracy, timeliness or of the results obtained from the use of this information, and without warranty of any kind, express or implied, including, but not limited to warranties of performance, merchantability and fitness for a particular purpose. In no event will PricewaterhouseCoopers, its related partnerships or corporations, or the partners, principals, agents or employees thereof be liable to you or anyone else for any decision made or action taken in reliance on the information in this document or for any consequential, special or similar damages, even if advised of the possibility of such damages. © 2008 PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP. All rights reserved. “PricewaterhouseCoopers” refers to PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP or, as the context requires, the PricewaterhouseCoopers global network or other member firms of the network, each of which is a separate and independent legal entity.


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