The Law of Securities, Commodities and Bank Accounts

The Law of Securities, Commodities and Bank Accounts

The Rights of Account Holders

Elgar Financial Law series

Marek Dubovec

In this unique study Marek Dubovec examines contemporary commercial relationships between investors and their intermediaries – relationships based on accounts that hold intangible rights to securities, funds, and commodity contracts. Such accounts have replaced the traditional physical possession and delivery of tangible objects, such as security certificates, coins, and commodities that were previously used in commercial relationships.

Chapter 9: Introduction to Part III

Marek Dubovec

Subjects: law - academic, commercial law, finance and banking law, international economic law, trade law, regulation and governance

Extract

Similarly to the systems in which securities and funds circulate, systems for the holding and transferring of commodity contracts underwent a significant modernization process in which deliveries of actual commodities against immediate cash payments were replaced with an exchange of promises tradable like securities. Commodities trading became centralized and supported by webs of account relationships that facilitate transfers. Like securities markets, contemporary commodity markets for the acquisition and trading of commodity contracts are electronic, having replaced the markets populated by human traders who executed and confirmed trades by exchanging paper tickets. Commodity intermediaries execute orders of their customers on centralized exchanges and maintain commodity accounts for their customers. The essence of commodity contracts and commodity accounts is a contractual promise. Unlike in a traditional spot contract in which an asset is sold and its possession delivered to the buyer in exchange for a purchase price, the buyer of a promise embedded in a commodity contract is not acquiring an asset expecting its delivery. He is acquiring a right to demand delivery of the underlying commodity. This promise is 'delivered' to the buyer by his intermediary, which credits the buyer's commodity account. Since the establishment of centralized commodity markets, sellers no longer need to find buyers for their products and for the right price. Long before the harvest the seller may acquire a commodity futures contract to sell his corn through an intermediary who will then credit the seller's commodity account.

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