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ESMA Steven Maijoor

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European regulatory body invites comment on AIFM Directive implementation

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The European Securities and Markets Authority, which succeeded the Committee of European Securities Regulators at the beginning of this year, has asked for industry comment on the advice it proposes to send to the European Commission on detailed implementation measures for the European Union’s Alternative Investment Fund Managers Directive.

The directive, on which the European Parliament, Commission and member states took more than 18 months to find agreement last November, was formally signed last month following a lengthy process of legal and linguistic revision and translation into the union’s official languages.

It was published in the EU Official Journal on 1 July and will come into force on 21 July, although its measures will not come into effect until 22 July, 2013, the deadline for transposition of the directive into the national law of member states. The Commission, which is responsible for drafting and executing Level 2 implementing measures, formally asked Cesr for advice last December before it became Esma on January 1.

The deadline for Esma to provide its advice, 16 November of this year, has already been put back by two months because of the unexpected length of the revision process. The regulatory body has asked members of the industry to provide feedback on the discussion paper its published yesterday by 13 September.

The discussion paper generally covers three of four parts into which the Commission has divided the various implementing measures for the AIFM Directive: general provision for managers, authorisation and operating conditions; governance of depositaries to alternative investment funds; and transparency requirements and leverage.

The fourth part, implementing measures on supervision, includes details of how the directive’s ‘passport’ for the marketing of alternative funds to sophisticated investors throughout the EU will be extended to managers and funds domiciled in non-EU countries, a process that will not start until July 2015.

However, Esma says that later this summer it will publish a further consultation document on its proposals for co-operation arrangements with non-EU regulators for which the rules must also be finalised by July 2013, involving EU managers of funds domiciled and marketed outside the union, and both EU and non-EU managers of non-EU funds that may continue to be marketed in individual member states under national private placement rules.

“Delivery of the advice to the Commission on the AIFMD is one of Esma’s top priorities for 2011, and today’s publication is a crucial step in achieving that objective,” says the organisation’s chairman Steven Maijoor (pictured).

“When finalised, these rules will increase transparency for investors and supervisors, and will contribute significantly to tackling the potential build-up of systemic risk. Input from all stakeholders to this consultation will be particularly vital for Esma in shaping the final rules that will govern the European alternative investment fund industry.”

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