The Irish Funds Industry Association (IFIA) has noted a significant uptake in applications by fund managers seeking authorisation in Ireland under the new Alternative Investment Fund Managers Directive (AIFMD).
According to information released from the Central Bank of Ireland (CBI) to the IFIA, applications from 72 fund management firms are being processed at present, with 11 AIFMs already authorised by the Central Bank of Ireland. In recent weeks 47 applications have been received.
The CBI now believes it will be exceeding its initial expectations and processing up to 90 applications between now and the deadline on 22nd July 2014.
Pat Lardner, chief executive of the IFIA, says: “We are at a critical stage in the process; we are now half way through the transition period with a clear deadline in sight. This is the first time the Central Bank of Ireland has released these figures and they clearly highlight that Ireland is going to be a domicile of choice for fund managers looking to passport funds across the EU.
“We have a strong track-record and excellence in servicing alternative fund managers, and this is reflected in the country’s 12,000 skilled professionals that currently work across the full range of alternative investment fund services.”
From July 2014, the popular Qualified Investor Fund structure (QIF) will make way for the more flexible Qualified Investor Alternative Investment Fund (QIAIF) which will be fully regulated under the AIFMD. The QIAIF is the preferred structure for use in the regulated alternative investment area because it is exempt from the general conditions relating to investment policies and borrowing restrictions.
There are now two methods which allow the managing and marketing of alternative investment funds in the EU by fund managers. The first method is a marketing “passport”, introduced by the AIFMD which allows AIFs to be marketed to professional investors across the EU. The second method allows AIFs to be marketed in a specific Member State in accordance with that Member State’s private placement regime.
Ireland already offers a range of alternative investment fund structures to meet the varying requirements of investors, including corporate vehicles, unit trusts, limited partnerships and common contractual funds. It is also expected to introduce a new corporate vehicle, the Irish Collective Asset-management Vehicle (ICAV) later in 2014.
Lardner says: “With more than 40 per cent of global hedge fund assets now serviced in Ireland, the news further highlights Ireland’s credibility as a domicile for alternative investment funds, and one of the top jurisdictions for accessing AIF passporting across the EU.”