Amundi Alternative Investments SAS (Amundi AI) has obtained AIFM authorisation from the French securities regulator (Autorité des Marchés Financiers) for all of its investment solutions.
The AIFM directive, transposed by the EU member states on 22 July, regulates alternative fund managers for the first time as part of a dedicated framework.
Amundi AI says the development will enable it to offer institutional and private wealth clients access to alternative funds within a harmonised European regulatory framework.
In addition to the UCITS format, the AIFM directive has created a new label with an international scope that combines:
- Performance driver: with investment limits that are less restrictive than for UCITS, notably in terms of asset eligibility, liquidity, and portfolio concentration.
- Regulatory framework: secure with mandatory use of an independent custodian and valuation agent, separating the risk and investment functions, quarterly reporting to the regulator, and enhanced investor information.
Concretely, funds managed within the scope of the AIFM directive will enable managers to fully express their convictions and implement investment strategies that are difficult or even impossible to reproduce under a UCITS format.
In an environment of rising interest rates and jittery markets, institutional investors, notably in Europe and Asia, are on the lookout for alternative funds. However, they demand a well-controlled environment that protects their interests and guarantees fair treatment of shareholders. As was the case with other industry players, Amundi AI funds were domiciled offshore until 2009. Since then, all business activities have been transferred to Europe: the managed accounts platform is Irish, all the underlying funds in which the funds of funds invest, all the funds of funds and the management company are domiciled and regulated in Europe. International investors will from now on be able to choose new investment solutions based on the successful UCITS format, while being better suited to their requirements and to building long-term savings.
For Amundi AI, obtaining the AIFM licence is the culmination of a strategy adopted by Amundi in 2010 with the aim of redomiciling in Europe (France, Ireland and Luxembourg) its alternative offering at all levels: 10 funds of funds and 21 managed accounts, including the biggest international names in the alternative industry.
The AIFM licence is the first step on the way to obtaining the passports for the entire range by the end of the first quarter of 2014.
Laurent Guillet, chief executive officer at Amundi AI, says: “These passports will enable us to market our alternative funds in other EU member states without having to navigate through the constraints of the private placement regime. With the AIFM, Amundi can offer institutional investors secure alternative solutions in addition to benchmarked management while giving European investors access to new absolute return strategies which are essential to build long-term savings in a regulated environment.”