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Glynn Barwick, Goodwin Procter

ESMA AIFM guidelines far from clear

Glynn Barwick (pictured), regulatory lawyer and counsel for Goodwin Procter LLP's Financial Services Practice in London, comments on the ESMA’s final guidelines for AIFM reporting requirements…

On 1 October 2013 ESMA published a press release titled "ESMA clarifies reporting requirements for Alternative Fund Managers " to accompany its final guidelines report on the reporting obligations for AIFMs under the AIFM Directive. In fact, in one critical area the final guidelines are far from clear.  This is the section which relates to the transitional period. 
ESMA had previously suggested that managers exempt during the transitional period should still be required to report to their national supervisors.  Following objections, however, the new guidelines now say that managers should themselves work out whether they should report. This is ambiguous, unhelpful and creates considerable uncertainty for the AIFMs concerned.
Given ESMA has failed to clarify the reporting obligations for AIFMs during the transitional period, we can only hope that the FCA will now rescue the situation and set out what it requires AIFMs to do. Until then we are left hanging which is as shocking as it is unwelcome. AIFMs have enough to contend with without guidelines which are genuinely unclear and the greatest irony is that this relates to a Directive which is supposed to improve transparency!" 

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