EU agrees new investment fund market rules

Posted: 06/02/2019

The European Commission has welcomed the political agreement reached by the European Parliament and EU member states this week on new rules to make it easier, quicker and cheaper for EU asset managers to sell funds to a wider range of investors.

In turn, investors across the EU will have access to a much larger choice of fund products at better value.

Commission Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis, responsible for financial stability, financial services and capital markets union, said: “The agreement will cut red tape and improve clarity for fund managers who want to market their products across the EU. 

"This will lead to more choice for investors, at lower costs – an important milestone for the capital markets union. We want fund managers based in Milan to be able to easily offer their funds in Riga, without compromising on investor protection."

EU investment funds market

According to the EU, investment funds are an important tool to channel private savings into the economy and increase funding possibilities for companies. The EU investment funds market amounts to a total of €14.3 trillion. 

However, this market has not yet achieved its full potential. Some 70% of the total assets under management are held by investment funds authorised or registered for distribution only in their domestic market. 

Only 37% of undertakings for collective investment in transferable securities (UCITS) and about 3% of alternative investment funds (AIFs) are currently registered for distribution in more than three member states. This is partly due to regulatory barriers that hinder the cross-border distribution of investment funds.  

The EU says the new agreement will remove some of these barriers for all kinds of investment funds, making cross-border distribution more transparent, while removing overly complex and burdensome requirements and harmonising diverging national rules.

Key points

The main changes introduced by the new rules will: 
• Make it easier for EU alternative investment fund managers to test the appetite of potential professional investors in new markets. This will help them take more informed commercial decisions before entering a new market
• Clarify customer service obligations for asset managers in their host member state. This should ensure that investors have access to a uniform, high level of customer service across the EU without imposing on asset managers the cost of maintaining a physical presence or local facilities in all host markets
• Align procedures and conditions for managers of collective investment funds to exit national markets when they decide to terminate the offering or placement of their funds
• Introduce increased transparency and creation of a single online access point for information on national rules related to marketing requirements and applicable fees. This should help managers who want to increase their cross-border activities to save the cost of legal advice on national rules. 

This political agreement will be followed by further technical work before the European Parliament and the Council can formally adopt the final texts.

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