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Those seeking to obtain an AIFM license or establish an UCITS in the EU should keep in mind that ESMA has recently updated its AIFs & UCITS regulations. Meant to harmonize ways in which managers of such entities impose fees for their performance, the guidelines provide exhaustive information on conditions under which the said fees could be charged.

The updated regulations are going to be rendered into languages ​​of EU member states & applied within 90 days following their publication on the official website of ESMA.

Establishing a private investment fund in the EU means that its founders gain the FMP status, while their UCITSs & AIFs are considered financial products.

2020 saw ESMA release a public statement on its commitment to publish annual & semi-annual statements for:

  • UCITSs
  • self-governing investment-oriented UCITS entities;
  • authorized AIFMs
  • AIFs registered outside EU
  • EuVECA managers
  • EuSEF managers

Therefore, if you are interested in registering UCITS in Europe, or obtaining a European license for managing AIF, you should carefully read the said statement.

COVID-19

According to ESMA, the NCA should take into account the burden borne by managers of funds during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. ESMA expects the NCA to adopt a risk-based approach and refrain from taking punitive actions against these market participants with regard to deadlines for reporting.

Consulting a lawyer on matters relating to reporting deadlines during the ongoing pandemic will help you better understand this situation.

If you decide to undertake an investment project in Europe during the pandemic, you should know that:

  • The pandemic has resulted in major stock market adjustments since mid-February, caused by a sharp deterioration in forecasts for consumers, enterprises and the economic environment.
  • ESMA predicts high operational risks, given its growing reliance on remote work agreements. The extent to which these risks will be realized in the future will depend on two factors: the economic impact of COVID-19 and any occurrence of additional external events.
  • If you are interested in obtaining a license of an asset manager fund in Europe, please note: productivity has declined by asset class in accordance with a market assessment. UCITS and ETF bonds had to cope with massive outflows. MMF (money market funds) faced significant difficulties. A number of fund managers have begun to use liquidity management tools.

ESMA has taken a number of initiatives to address the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic in the following areas:

  • regulations
  • corporate disclosures
  • fund management periodic reporting
  • MiFID / MIFIR sales measures
  • measures to regulate securities transactions;
  • recommended actions for financial market participants during COVID-19.

AML/CTF

EBA has called on the NCAs to take the following steps with regard to AML:

  • Plan supervisory activities in an effective and pragmatic way.
  • Continue to share information on emerging AML / CTF risks. 
  • Registration of a credit institution in Europe, or the creation of a European financial company during the COVID-19 period, implies taking clear measures to mitigate the risks. If necessary, firms should update their risk assessments.

FATF has issued a statement that includes:

  • The recommendation that supervisors and other law enforcement authorities share information with the private sector about AML risks.
  • Encouragement to use digital identification for financial transactions to better manage AML/CTF risks during a crisis.

Conclusion

If you need more information on the topic of this article, please consider contacting IQ Decision UK. Our specialists will provide you with consultations on investment management during a pandemic. We can also offer you legal support in the settlement of investment disputes in Europe.