The Irish Minister for Finance has approved, in principal, the development of legislation for a new corporate fund structure intended to meet US ‘check the box’ requirements and reduce administrative costs. The decision would seemingly underscore the Irish government’s on-going commitment to develop to its funds industry. Mark White, a partner with law firm McCann Fitzgerald, said the new legislation will introduce a market-leading corporate structure that combines the high standards of governance, transparency and investor protection that one expects of an Irish authorised fund with the characteristics that fund promoters and distributors want when seeking to raise capital on a global basis. The Legislative Sub-Group of the IFSC Funds Group, of which McCann Fitzgerald is a member, played a key role in securing commitment to this latest legislative development.
The majority of Irish investment funds are structured either as unit trusts or public limited companies. Ireland has long been Europe’s dominant hedge fund centre with in excess of 63 per cent of European hedge funds domiciled there. Moreover, in 2011 the country attracted some EUR60billion in UCITS inflows, twice as much as all other jurisdictions in aggregate. In keeping with its commitment to improve the flexibility and attractiveness of Irish investment vehicles, the proposed new legislation will facilitate a new form of corporate investment vehicle that can, under US tax rules, make an election (‘check the box’) to be treated as a flow-through or partnership for US tax purposes. The proposed legislation is expected to become law in Ireland by the end of 2012.