European Asset Management Conference 2021 - Wrap up of Day 3

18 Mar 2021 | Press Releases  

Day three of the ALFI European Asset Management Conference 2021 saw a deep dive into multiple facets of regulation, with insights from regulators as well as forward-looking expectations from asset management and asset servicing professionals engaged in building mechanisms to deal with a pending wave of regulatory changes.

Marc-André Bechet, Deputy Director General, ALFI, welcomed delegates by framing the SFDR as the start of a long transition process to ‘green’ the economy, preferably through engagement and a best-in-class approach.

The event then moved on to two key regulator views, from Ugo Bassi, Director of Financial Markets at DG FISMA - European Commission and Marco Zwick, Director, Commission de Surveillance du Secteur Financier (CSSF) in Luxembourg.

In his keynote, Bassi make a crucial statement on the AIFMD review, noting that it will not look to tear up existing Level 1 implementation, but limit itself to “targeted improvements and clarification” in areas such liquidity management tools, data gaps as relevant to financial stability, and loan origination. The review is not intended to be a revolution, he stressed.

Other matters on the agenda for the European Commission include ELTIFs, anti-money laundering, and MiFID/MiFIR in context of Capital Markets Union objectives. Bassi also described the equivalence model as the right one to use in respect of Brexit and the ongoing work towards a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the UK.

Zwick, interviewed by Corinne Lamesch, chairperson, ALFI, re-iterated the idea that SFDR is just the start of the sustainable investment journey. More related regulation will come, he suggested, but will be worth it when in future there is a look back at the changes wrought.

Existing regulation in Luxembourg survived its Covid stress test, as measured by the low ratio of funds suspended earlier in the pandemic, the way the local industry was able to shift to new ways of working, and the availability and use of liquidity management tools. Lessons learned during the pandemic regarding CSSF virtual on-site visits are likely to be applied ongoing.

The day also saw delegates taken on a ‘regulatory journey’ by the troika of Silke Bernard, Partner, Linklaters LLP, Nathalie Dogniez, Partner, PwC and Michèle Eisenhuth, Partner, Arendt & Medernach, who discussed not only sustainable finance via the SFDR and Taxonomy, but also products intended to meet long term savings and investment needs such as the PEPP and ELTIF, consumer/retail investor issues such as PRIIPs and fees, and a raft of other regulatory changes near-term and long-term.

Echoing the comments of Ugo Bassi, Evelyne Christiaens, Head of the Legal Department, ALFI and Hema Jewootah, Conducting Officer, Chief Compliance Officer and MLRO, Lombard Odier Funds (Europe) S.A., addressed specifics in regards to anti-money laundering developments in Luxembourg, and the requirements placed on entities, their boards and managers ongoing.

And Marc-André Bechet, Vanessa Camilleri, Head of Office, Member of Management, Partners Group (Luxembourg) S.A., Johannes Höring, Local Managing Director and Conducting Officer, GAM (Luxembourg) S.A. and  Sean O'Driscoll, Country Head, Managing Director, Universal-Investment-Luxembourg S.A., took on the meaty topic of CSSF Circular 18/698, as applicable to investment fund managers for some years now; to understand lessons learned in areas such as oversight of delegates, and how digitalisation and automation can be used to reduce the operational burdens associated with this particular piece of regulation.

Rounding out the official programme was a Masterclass hosted by State Street, looking at diversity and inclusion within the industry. Here, State Street colleagues Abdel Hmitti, Head of EMEA Private Equity and Real Assets Servicing, Loreto Calaf, Investment Compliance Analyst – NextGen & Latin American Professionals Group networks, Marin Gurlevsky, Business Analyst, Client Program Office, Barbara L. Mabe, Financial Risk Manager, Chair of Race & Ethnicity Network, and Veronika Zukova, EMEA Head of Alternatives Segment Strategy, pondered the strides made thus far, but also how the definition and purpose of diversity may change again in future, partly as more relevant workplace and employee data becomes available, but also as a generational shift occurs with an increasing proportion of Millennials and Gen-Z people joining the industry.

In an additional off-programme session, CSS hosted a Zoom meeting looking at the future of fund reporting and the implications of the introduction of, initially, Level 1-linked reporting requirements of SFDR.