Along with representatives from members who engage in the numerous Committees and Working Groups set up and organised by the association, ALFI's specialists in the legal and tax team work hard to coordinate these bodies' activities. The vast amount of output from the groups reflects the complexity and dynamic of the fund centre. The five lawyers and one tax specialist at ALFI also closely monitor all relevant legislative and regulatory developments and have summarised some of the major subject-matters below.
See a selection of topics they have been involved with lately.
A trade-off between removing distribution barriers and adequate investor protection
On 16 April 2019, the European Parliament adopted the final text of the Directive amending the UCITS and AIFM Directives and the EU Regulation amending European Venture Capital Funds (EuVECA) and European Social Entrepreneurship Funds (EuSEF) Regulations. This marked the end of a review process of cross-border distribution of investment funds started in 2016 under the framework of the Capital Markets Union. The most relevant provisions introduced are as follows.
Compromise equilibrates further convergence and NCAs’ key role in investor and market protection
The reform of the operation of the European supervisory authorities (ESAs) has been high on the agenda of European policymakers ever since the Commission’s original proposal in September 2017. The proposal followed from a public consultation to which many stakeholders, including ALFI, responded. ALFI’s views were shared by a large number of financial institutions and trade associations across a majority of Member States.
ALFI has been instrumental in helping its members prepare for Brexit
For a long time, asset managers in London have been trusted partners of their Luxembourg counterparts, turning to Luxembourg as one of their preferred domiciles for investment funds with an international distribution in Europe and beyond. In the wake of the UK 2016 referendum, ALFI and the relevant local public and private stakeholders have engaged with UK firms to discuss the possible options in order to retain access to European markets.
Exemption of clearing for small financial counterparties; exemption of variation margin exchange for physically settled FX transactions
ALFI has been very active in shaping the debate and the measures to be taken around the new obligations of the EMIR Refit programme (EMIR Refit).
Overview of the six main developments impacting the fund industry
On 26 October 2018, the Financial Action Task Force (“FATF”) issued the Risk-based Approach Guidance for the Securities Sector. This document aims to support the implementation of the RBA, taking into account national money laundering and terrorist financing risk assessments and AML/CFT legal and regulatory frameworks. In particular, it applies to investment funds, recognises the multiplicity of different distribution models and clarifies the role and responsibilities of intermediaries.
The importance of new technologies for present and future of the fund sector is hard to deny. Created to reflect this, the youngest among the ALFI Forums is the Digital/FinTech Forum.
As one of its first undertakings, the group initiated the launch of a series of Digital/FinTech White Papers. The first two topics that the Forum concentrated on were robo-advice and equity crowdfunding and peer-to-peer (P2P) lending.