More than 50 per cent of fund managers, prospective clients and consultants attending a recent Northern Trust seminar on the European Union's Alternative Investment Fund Manager Directive (AIFMD) said they believed investors would still not be engaged in AIFMD considerations by December 2015.
These latest findings echo a previous survey conducted by Northern Trust in 2012 where a significant number of respondents had concerns over AIFMD, with close to 70 per cent citing their investors were not engaged in AIFMD considerations at the time.
"Next year is an important milestone in AIFMD deployment," says Ian Headon, of Northern Trust Depositary Services. "The fact that managers still feel that investors, the intended beneficiaries of the Directive, will not be engaged in December 2015 comes as somewhat of a surprise."
The primary benefit of the AIFMD for asset managers is the creation of a pan-European passporting regime, making distribution easier. However, despite these distribution opportunities, two thirds (66 per cent) of the attendees still saw the directive primarily as a compliance exercise, an increase on the 64 per cent who felt the same a year ago. Less than 15 per cent of attendees believe the directive is a strategically important opportunity for their business, and 62 per cent of attendees reported that AIFMD will have no implication on their future product strategy.
"Our findings show that the benefits of AIFMD are not yet translating into strategic opportunities and the focus for fund managers remains on the workload required to implement the Directive," says Toby Glaysher, head of Northern Trust's global fund services business in Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA). "At Northern Trust, we understand the increasing regulatory challenges our clients face and will continue to provide regular updates from our experts to help them navigate the changing regulatory landscape."