While the prospect of mandatory clearing is looming market participants continue to enter into over-the-counter derivative trades bilaterally under an ISDA Master Agreement.  This Part I of the article discusses the origins of the ISDA Master Agreements, the architecture of the standardized documentation (including that it forms a single agreement), and the risk and compliance considerations that should be taken into account prior to entering into an ISDA Master Agreement and also during the course of a trading relationship documented under such agreement.

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