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    ALFI Newsdigest february 4, 2016    
          in this edition      
    1. Headlines
2. Upcoming ALFI events
3. Past ALFI events
     
 
   

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1.

Headlines

Luxembourg to introduce additional alternative investment fund regime

ALFI welcomes the publication of a draft law relating to a new Luxembourg alternative fund structure, the Reserved Alternative Investment Fund (RAIF). The bill will run through the usual legislative process and is therefore still subject to change. A final text of the law might be adopted in the second quarter of 2016.

The new RAIF is an AIF that has very similar features to the Luxembourg SIFs and SICARs with the key difference that the RAIF does not need to be approved and is not supervised by the CSSF.

Currently Luxembourg rules not only require the Luxembourg Alternative Investment Fund Manager (AIFM) to be authorised and regulated by the CSSF but also require the Alternative Investment Fund (AIF), usually a Part II UCI, a SIF or a SICAR, to be authorised and supervised by the CSSF. The CSSF approves and supervises the Luxembourg AIFM and the Luxembourg AIF separately.

In order to ensure sufficient protection and regulation via its manager, a RAIF must be managed by an authorised external AIFM. The latter can be domiciled in Luxembourg or in any other Member State of the EU. If it is authorised and fully in line with the requirements of the AIFMD, the AIFM can make use of the marketing passport to market shares or units of RAIFs on a cross-border basis. As is the case for Luxembourg SIFs and SICARs, shares or units of RAIFs can only be sold to well-informed investors.

(Read more)

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Automatic Exchange of Information: three categories of Luxembourg accounts excluded

On 31 October 2015, the European Commission published in the Official Journal No 362 the list of accounts that are to be treated as Excluded Accounts for the purposes of subparagraph C.17(g) of Section VIII of Annex I of Council Directive 2011/16/EU as well as the list of entities that are to be treated as Non-Reporting Financial Institutions for the purposes of subparagraph B.1(c) of Section VIII of Annex I of Council Directive 2011/16/EU.

As far as Luxembourg is concerned, the following three categories of accounts are considered as excluded accounts:

1.  Private pension insurance contracts (« Comptes ouverts en vertu d'un contrat prévoyance-vieillesse visé par l'article 111bis de la loi modifiée du 4 décembre 1967 concernant l'impôt sur le revenu ») ;

2. Savings accounts held with a home loan and savings institution (« Comptes ouverts en vertu d'un contrat d'épargne-logement visé par l'article 111 alinéa 1er de la loi modifiée du 4 décembre 1967 concernant l'impôt sur le revenu ») ;

3. Supplementary pension schemes (« Comptes ouverts en vertu d'un régime complémentaire de pension visé par l'article 110 de la loi modifiée du 4 décembre 1967 concernant l'impôt sur le revenu »).

For Luxembourg, no entity is included in the list of Non-Reporting Financial Institutions. Click here (excluded accounts) and here (excluded entities) to access the lists published in the Official Journal of the European Commission.

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Luxembourg Regulator ready for ELTIF

On 21 December 2015, the Commission de Surveillance du Secteur Financier (CSSF) released a dedicated application form on its website for an authorisation as a European Long-Term Investment Fund (ELTIF) and an authorisation to manage the ELTIF.  Click here to access the form.

The ELTIF Regulation, aimed at giving impetus to economic recovery, has entered into force on 9 December 2015. The Association of the Luxembourg Fund Industry (ALFI) will publish an ELTIF Q&A in January 2016 to provide clarity to the investment fund industry and to support the successful creation of European long term investment funds.

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ALFI survey confirms trend to greater adoption of swing pricing

The trend towards greater adoption of swing pricing continues. The third edition of ALFI’s Swing Pricing Survey shows both a greater number of participants responding to the survey and a greater number of asset managers that have implemented the mechanism.

The 2015 version of the ALFI Swing Pricing Survey increases the scope and depth of the previous survey done in 2011 and provides more detailed insights into how swing pricing is currently applied by asset managers, common trends, emerging themes and the challenges the industry faces in this regard.

The survey was conducted by a dedicated ALFI working group throughout July to September 2015 and targeted the largest 65 Luxembourg asset managers. 45 companies participated to the survey. They represent approximately USD 2,500 bn of assets under management, which is 69% of the assets of the Luxembourg domiciled funds (July 2015 figures).

Exactly two out of three respondents, who manage a combined USD 1,900 bn of net assets (54% of total assets under management in Luxembourg funds) apply swing pricing. More than half of the asset managers not yet applying swing pricing stated they were in the process of evaluating it, and wanted to understand more about the key principles, drivers and theories. These managers might benefit from the updated Swing Pricing Guidelines ALFI has published alongside with the survey.

The 2015 ALFI Swing Pricing Survey is available in a PDF format on the ALFI website.

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First Luxembourg RQFII licences allocated

Bank of China (Luxembourg) S.A. and ICBC (Europe) S.A. have become the first Luxembourg financial institutions to be granted an RQFII (RMB Qualified Foreign Institutional Investor) Licence by the China Securities Regulatory Commission. The quotas will be used for the management of Luxembourg investment funds.

On 29 April 2015, the People’s Bank of China announced the granting of a RMB 50 billion RQFII quota to Luxembourg. The RQFII scheme was launched in Hong Kong in 2011 and has been expanded to other jurisdictions since 2013 enabling an increased volume of offshore RMB to be reinvested into the Mainland Chinese securities markets.

Major international and PRC-headquartered asset managers have already established Luxembourg investment funds using the quota of other jurisdictions. Luxembourg was actually the first European jurisdiction to authorise an RQFII UCITS fund in November 2013.

On 30 September 2015, ALFI and Luxembourg for Finance issued FAQs providing further guidance on the application for an RQFII licence and quota in the context of Luxembourg investment funds and management companies. The FAQs are available in both English ans Mandarin Chinese.

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ALFI takes position on EU regulatory framework for financial services

On 29 January 2016, ALFI responded to the call for evidence “EU regulatory framework for financial services”, which was published by the EU Commission end of September 2015. ALFI believes it is important to see and understand that EU regulatory changes have a marked impact on the capacity of the EU to attract financial sector activities and hence generate new employment opportunities. Among other things, ALFI underlined that regulatory stability as such is of great importance, notably having regard to the global functioning of the financial markets.

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ALFI response to ESA consultation on RTS for PRIIPs

On 26 January 2016, ALFI responded to the consultation on Regulatory Technical Standards (RTS) for Packaged Retail and Insurance-based Investment Products (PRIIPs) conducted by the European Supervisory Authorities (ESAs). Apart from questions concerning specific aspects such as the comprehension alert, the ESAs focused on the risk and reward as well as the costs section. ALFI concluded that clarification in many respects is still needed, which may require a further delay in time.

EFAMA also submitted its response to the ESAs, completed by additional comments relating to the draft RTS not covered in the questions.

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ALFI and LPEA see room to improve the EuVECA / EuSEF regulation

On 6 January 2016, ALFI and the Luxembourg Private Equity and Venture Capital Association (LPEA) responded to the EU Commission consultation on the review of the European Venture Capital Funds (EuVECA) and European Social Entrepreneurship Funds (EuSEF) Regulations.

ALFI and LPEA are of the view that several features of the EuVECA and EuSEF Regulations could be improved to make both labels successful. For example, any manager authorised under the AIFMD and complying with one of the two regimes should be allowed to manage, name and market its EuVECA- / EuSEF-compliant funds as “EuVECA” and “EuSEF” respectively. Moreover, the registration requirements are often perceived as a hindrance for small managers which do not have the same resources as bigger managers.

(Read the response)

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ALFI responds to the Consultation on the Common Consolidated Corporate Tax Base

On 8 January 2016, ALFI responded to the Consultation of the EU Commission on the Common Consolidated Corporate Tax Base. The Common Consolidated Corporate Tax Base (CCCTB) is a single set of rules that companies operating within the EU could use to calculate their taxable profits. In other words, a company would have to comply with just one EU system for computing its taxable income, rather than different rules in each Member State in which they operate. In addition, groups using the CCCTB would be able to file a single consolidated tax return for the whole of their activity in the EU.

On 17 June 2015, the Commission published an Action Plan for a Fairer and Efficient Corporate Tax System and proposed 5 key areas for action. The re-launch of the CCCTB lies at the heart of the Action Plan.

Responses to the Consultation will be made public by the European Commission here.

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ALFI celebrates five successful years in Asia

At its annual Asia Roadshow held in Hong Kong during the second week of December, ALFI celebrated the fifth anniversary of its Asia Representative Office. Since opening the office in Hong Kong in 2010, Asia has become the main non-European market for UCITS funds, totalling approximately 62% of total UCITS registrations outside of Europe.

“Through our ongoing activities in Asia, we have developed strong relationships with stakeholders from the various Asian fund industries and we continuously work with them on key issues that impact the industry,” said Camille Thommes, Director General of ALFI.

Luxembourg’s position as the international fund centre of reference continues to grow in Asia, with 215, 148 and 371 registrations respectively, for ALFI’s recent financial seminars in Tokyo, Taipei and Hong Kong. The seminars addressed practical solutions offered by the Luxembourg fund industry for structuring Luxembourg based UCITS and alternative investment fund products, discussed how better governance benefits investors and examined the current distribution and product innovations under both UCITS and AIFMD.

“Since the opening of our Hong Kong office five years ago, the Chinese economy and financial markets have undergone a remarkable transformation and seen significant growth. More specifically, the Chinese equity market has grown to the second largest equity market in the world after the US,” said Camille Thommes.

(Read more)

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CSSF updates AML Circular

On 26 October 2015 CSSF issued Circular 15/623 drawing the attention of all entities under its supervision to the declarations published by the FATF on the occasion of its last plenary meeting with regard to jurisdictions that may pose a risk to the international financial system.

In particular, the list of jurisdictions with strategic anti-money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism deficiencies for which a call for action applies, the list of jurisdictions that have made unsufficient efforts in this regard and the list of jurisdictions with strategic AML/CFT deficiencies for which they have developed an action plan with the FATF have been updated by the abovementioned declarations.

Please click here to access the text of the Circular.

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FAQs on the Law of 17 December 2010 relating to UCI

On 8 December 2015 the CSSF published FAQs concerning the Luxembourg Law of 17 December 2010 relating to undertakings for collective investment (UCI). This document addresses eligible assets issues and diversification rules and must be read in conjunction with the questions and answers already published by ESMA on these topics.

Click here to access the text of the FAQs.

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Sustained UCITS net sales in November

Figures published by the European Fund and Asset Management Association (EFAMA) show that during the month of November, net sales of UCITS increased to EUR 55 billion, up from EUR 51 billion in October. According to EFAMA, the increase in UCITS net sales can be attributed to a rise in net inflows into money market funds to EUR 28 billion, from EUR 23 billion registered in October.

Long-term UCITS (UCITS excluding money market funds) registered net sales of EUR 27 billion, down from EUR 28 billion in October.  Equity funds registered EUR 17 billion in net sales, down from EUR 19 billion in October.  Bond funds suffered from net outflows of EUR 2 billion, compared to net inflows of EUR 0.3 billion in October.  Multi-asset funds finished the quarter with net sales of EUR 10 billion, up from EUR 8 billion in October. Total AIF registered net inflows of EUR 9.5 billion, down from EUR 12.5 billion in October.

Net assets of UCITS stood at EUR 8,430 billion at end November 2015, an increase of 2.5 percent during the month, while net assets of AIF increased 1.5 percent to stand at EUR 4,467 billion at month end.  Overall, total net assets of the European investment fund industry increased 2.2 percent to stand at EUR 12,897 billion at end November 2015.

(Read more)

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ESMA publishes consolidated UCITS Q&A

On 1st February 2016, the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) published a consolidated version of its Questions & Answers (Q&A) on the application of the UCITS Directive. 

The consolidated Q&A consolidates all Q&As relating to the UCITS Directive previously issued by ESMA into a single document:

  1. the Key Investor Information Document (KIID) for UCITS (2015/ESMA/631);
  2. ESMA’s guidelines on ETFs and other UCITS issues (ESMA/2015/12);
  3. Notification of UCITS and exchange of information between competent authorities (ESMA/2012/428); and
  4. Risk Measurement and Calculation of Global Exposure and Counterparty Risk for UCITS (ESMA/2013/1950).

These four Q&As are hereby repealed and replaced by this document.

Moreover, the Q&A includes new questions on additional documents funds need to provide for the “UCITS V” implementation by the deadline transposition date of 18 March 2016.

More specifically ESMA confirmed the following:

  • With regard to remuneration-related information, the updates to the UCITS KIID documents will need to be performed at the next annual update after 18 March 2016 (or on the first occasion after 18 March 2016 as the information becomes available). Similarly, a UCITS will be allowed to add the relevant information to the prospectus at the next occasion and in any event by 18 March 2017. As to the annual report, for those disclosures relating to periods that end on or after 18 March 2016, but before the UCITS management company has completed its first annual performance period in which it has to comply with articles 14a and 14b of the Directive, the UCITS management company should include the remuneration-related information in the report on a best efforts basis and to the extent possible, explaining the basis for any omission.
  • With regard to the depositary appointment contracts, the Q&A re-iterate that UCITS V will apply as of 18 March 2016 and that depositary contracts should be revised “promptly” in accordance with the transitional arrangements allowed by the Level 2 delegated act transmitted to the co-Legislators in December (and still awaiting adoption).

The Q&A can be found here.

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ESMA updates Q&A on the application of the AIFMD

ESMA has updated its Q&A document on the application of the AIFMD. On 2 December 2015, section III on reporting to national competent authorities under Articles 3, 24 and 42 has been further completed. On 15 December 2015, another question and answer has been added to section VI on depositaries.

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ESMA releases final MiFID II guidelines on assessment of knowledge and competence

ESMA is now providing more flexibility to National Competent Authorities (NCAs) in their assessment of knowledge and competence compared to the Consultation Paper. Most importantly, it has lowered the definition of “appropriate experience” from 5 years to now 6 months (see Annex VI Art.(4)). Beyond this minimum period “NCAs can differentiate the period of experience required, depending on the appropriate qualification attained by staff and also depending on the relevant services being provided.”

The final guidelines will now be translated into the official EU languages and published on the ESMA website. The publication of the translations will trigger a two-month period during which NCAs must notify ESMA whether they comply or intend to comply with the guidelines. The guidelines’ coming-into-effect is supposed to coincidence with MiFID II’s application date which is still officially 3 January 2017.

Download the guidelines here.

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EU Commission proposes new prospectus regulation

On 30 November 2015, the European Commission released its Proposal for a Regulation on the Prospectus published for securities offered to the public or admitted to trading on a regulated market. This text is intended to replace the previous Prospectus Directive.

The main issues addressed in this proposal are:

  • Exemption from the requirement to produce a prospectus for offers of securities of a total value below 500,000 euros (higher thresholds can be set by national authorities but for domestic offers only)
  • Introduction of a new proportionate disclosure regime for SMEs and small caps  with an optional “questionnaire” format
  • Annual “universal registration document” for frequent issuers, who will also benefit from a fast track approval each time they will be submitting a prospectus for approval
  • Provision by ESMA of a free access on an electronic platform to all prospectuses approved in the EEA
  • As regards risk factors, only those that are material and specific to the issuer and its securities will be mentioned in the prospectus.

To access the text of the Proposal click here and to access its annexes click here.

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EU Commission letter on AIFMD third country passport

On 19 January 2016, the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) has published the letter it received from the European Commission (EC) in respect of its advice on the application of the Alternative Investment Fund Managers Directive (AIFMD) passport to non-EU AIFMs and AIFs, and ESMA’s opinion on the functioning of the passport for EU AIFMs and on the national private placement regimes (NPPRs).

The EC has asked ESMA to complete its assessment of the regimes of the USA, Hong Kong, Singapore, Japan, Canada, Isle of Man, Cayman Islands, Bermuda and Australia by 30 June 2016.

Moreover, the EC agrees with ESMA's suggestion that it produces another opinion on the functioning of the EU passport and NPPRs once the AIFMD has been fully transposed in all the EU and there is more experience on the functioning of this framework. ESMA suggested it produces another opinion because the delay in implementing the AIFMD, together with the delay in the transposition of the Directive in some Member States, made it difficult for ESMA to provide a definitive assessment by July 2015, the initial legislative deadline.

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IOSCO Publishes final report on Standards for the Custody of CIS Assets

The Board of the International Organization of Securities Commissions (IOSCO) has published its final report on Standards for the Custody of Collective Investment Schemes’ Assets (CIS Assets).

The report seeks to clarify, modernize and further develop international guidance for the custody of CIS assets consistent with IOSCO’s core Objectives and Principles of Securities Regulation, June 2010 (IOSCO Principles). 

It sets out eight standards divided into two sections aimed at identifying the core issues that should be kept under review by the regulatory framework to ensure investors’ assets are effectively protected. The first section focuses on key aspects relating to the custody function. It reaffirms the importance for the regulatory framework to provide for suitable custodial arrangements to be in place, clear segregation requirements and appropriate independence. The second part of the report is dedicated to standards relating more specifically to the appointment and ongoing monitoring of custodians.

The report identifies some of the key risks associated with the custody of CIS assets, such as operational risk, misuse of CIS assets, risk of fraud or theft, and information technology risk.

(Read more)

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EBA report on the use of higher ratios for variable remuneration

The European Banking Authority (EBA) has published a report benchmarking the institutions' remuneration practices concerning the use of the possibility to increase the maximum ratio between variable and fixed remuneration up to 200%. The Capital Requirements Directive (CRDIV) limits the aforementioned ratio to 100%, unless it is increased following the shareholders' approval. The report also shows that nearly all Member States have allowed for the possibility to increase the ratio between the two remuneration components to 200% but only institutions in 15 Member States have actually made use of this possibility.

(Read more)

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EBA report on the use of allowances

The European Banking Authority (EBA) has published a follow up report on the actions taken following the publication of its Opinion on the use of allowances, in October 2014, where Competent Authorities were asked to use all necessary supervisory measures to ensure that by 31 December 2014 those institutions using the so called ‘role-based allowances' adjust their remuneration policies in line with the criteria set out in the Opinion.  The follow-up report concluded that Competent Authorities have taken measures in this respect and, where necessary, asked institutions to implement the necessary changes. However, such measures will, in most cases, only be effective for the remuneration awarded for the performance year 2015, while only in few cases were changes to institutions' remuneration policies and practices already made for the performance year 2014.

(Read more)

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IOSCO Publishes report on Liquidity Management Tools in CIS

The International Organisation of Securities Commissions has published a report on Liquidity Management Tools in Collective Investment Schemes (CIS) that maps existing liquidity management frameworks in 26 member jurisdictions with a particular focus on tools to help deal with exceptional situations (e.g., significant redemption pressure). The report is based on a survey sent to members of IOSCO’s Committee 5 on Collective Investment Schemes.

The report sets out clearly, for a large number of jurisdictions, the various frameworks and policy tools currently at the disposal of asset managers and the scope of funds to which they apply. As such, the document provides a useful, jurisdictional level, reference point on the liquidity management tools available globally.

(Read more)

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IOSCO Publishes results of the third annual Risk Outlook Survey

The Research Department of the International Organization of Securities Commissions (IOSCO) has published a Staff Working Paper entitled Risk Outlook Survey: Detailed methodology and results 2015, which provides a detailed analysis of responses to its annual Risk Outlook Survey.

The survey is an annual exercise formulated to collect the views of financial market regulators and experts globally on those risk areas that are of concern. This edition of the survey was conducted in March/April 2015. The main purpose of the survey is to gather views on risks to and within securities markets and to help identify or highlight pockets of risk that may not be captured by normal statistical analysis or desk research.

This is the fourth year that IOSCO Research has conducted this particular exercise. Unlike previous editions of the survey, the latest iteration expanded the line of questioning to include not only risks to financial stability, but also the risks to investor protection and to the fair, efficient and transparent operation of markets. The exercise now covers the three main objectives of IOSCO.

(Read more)

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2.

Upcoming ALFI events

ALFI Sponsorship opportunities 2016

Don’t wait for event details and topics to be set. Design your annual package now and get early visibility! You can commit to most roadshows and conferences through one single annual agreement.

Do you have an idea of a new sponsorship? - Talk to us! ALFI events team - +352 223026.1 or events@alfi.lu

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1 to 3 March 2016 : ALFI Roadshow to South Africa

ALFI is planning fund industry seminars in Cape Town (1st) and Johannesburg (3rd) to present the latest developments in the Luxembourg fund industry and to explain how Luxembourg can help local asset managers reach investors globally. There will be a particular focus on alternative funds in Cape Town.

Event webpage

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8 & 9 March 2016 ALFI Spring Conference

Highlights:

  • Vision of a future perfect
  • Innovation for efficiency & ease of doing business
  • Engaging in Governance & Ethics: What matters today – what is important for tomorrow
  • Focus on Regulation & Tax – what else?

Registration is now open! Early bird rates for registrations made by next Friday, 5 February 2016!

Join our 45 confirmed exhibitors and 21 sponsors and get exposure for your company at this leading Fund event!

Click here for sponsorship & exhibition opportunities!

Programme

      

50 FREE TICKETS for asset managers & institutional investors who are not based in Luxembourg. Come and join us -  application form

special group booking form

 

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Save the dates

12-14 April 2016 : ALFI Roadshow to the US & Canada (New York: HFM event, Boston & Toronto)

13 April 2016 : ALFI Leading Edge Conference "Investment Fund Infrastructure servicing Industry" (Depositary, EMIR, etc.)

Event webpage

3 & 4 May 2016: ALFI London Cocktail & Conference

Sponsorship opportunity.

12 May 2016: ALFI Impact Investing & Microfinance Conference

The programme committee has started to work on the agenda. Interested? Contact: events@alfi.lu

Event webpage

26 May 2016: ALFI & ALRiM European Risk Management Conference

The programme committee has started to work on the agenda. Interested? Contact: events@alfi.lu

Event webpage

14 June 2016 : ALFI Leading Edge Conference “Product Update & Distribution"

  • UCITS V, RAIF, ELTIFS ;
  • MiFid II, PRIPS, AML, KYC, Digitalisation/FinTech-impact on TA operations.

Event webpage

7 July 2016 : ALFI Roadshow to Frankfurt

New venue: Marriott Hotel.

October 2016: ALFI Leading Edge Conference in London - "Distribution"

27 October 2016:  ALFI Leading Edge Conference "Tax" (BEPS, CRS, Transfer Pricing..) 

Event webpage

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3.

Past ALFI events

19 & 20 January 2016: ALFI European Alternative Investment Funds Conference

More than 600 delegates from Luxembourg and abroad attended ALFI’s European Alternative Investment Funds Conference that took place on January 19-20 at the European Convention Center in Luxembourg. Beside Private Equity, Real Estate and Hedge Funds, speakers and panelists emphasised the potential impacts of digitalisation. A report of the conference is available here.

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7 - 11 December: ALFI roadshow to Asia

With more than 850 registrations - 155 in Taipei, 278 in Tokyo and 419 in Hong Kong - ALFI’s recent Asia road show was definitely a success. Experienced practitioners from the Luxembourg investment fund industry as well as from various local players prided participants with updates on the key legal & regulatory developments that Asian Asset Managers need to know to successfully conquer the European market and distribute their funds globally.

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24 November: ALFI Leading Edge Conference

The post implementation status of FATCA, investor reporting, double tax treaties, transfer pricing, common reporting standards and BEPS were the topics addressed at ALFI’s 17th Leading Edge Conference that took place at the premises of RBC Investor & Treasury Services. Our compilation of snapshots shows some of the high level speakers and panelists at the event (clockwise, staring in the upper eft corner): Gérard Laures, Partner, Head of Financial Services Tax, KPMG, Luxembourg; Malcolm Powell, Head of Tax, Investec Asset Management, London; Olivier van Ermengem, Partner, Linklaters LLP, Luxembourg; Bairbre Quigley, Vice President, Tax Operations Manager Worldwide Securities Services, JP Morgan Bank Luxembourg S.A.; Dany Teillant, Partner, Deloitte, Luxembourg; Birgitt Schitthof-Hönninger, Director Fund Tax, RBC Investor & Treasury Services, Luxembourg; Malte Brandes, Specialist Tax, Swiss Life Fund Management (LUX) S.A.; Marc-André Bechet, Director Legal & Tax, ALFI; Olivier Gaston-Braud, Counsel, Elvinger, Hoss & Prussen, Luxembourg; Thierry Lesage, Partner, Arendt & Medernach, Luxembourg; Georges Bock, Chairman, ALFI Tax Committee, Luxembourg; Patrick Mischo, Partner, Allen & Overy, Luxembourg.

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