International law firm Walkers has appointed partner Paul Farrell in its new Dublin office where he will head up Walkers’ Investment Funds Group in Ireland.
Farrell joins Walkers from Matheson Ormsby Prentice, where he practised as an asset management partner, leading their alternative investment arm and advised numerous banks and financial institutions in relation to the establishment of Irish funds over the past 13 years.
Farrell specialises in the legal and regulatory issues surrounding the establishment and maintenance of Irish mutual and alternative investment funds structured as UCITS funds, non-UCITS retail funds, professional investor funds (PIFs) and qualifying investor funds (QIFs). His expertise includes exchange traded funds (ETFs), managed-account platforms, money market funds, master-feeder funds and the re-domiciliation of funds to Ireland.
With the approval of the final terms of the Alternative Investment Fund Managers Directive by the European Parliament on November 11, 2010, and the removal of any uncertainty regarding the ability of non-EU fund managers to market funds in Europe, Walkers expects a greater number of asset managers from North America and elsewhere around the world to use Ireland as an access point to the EU market.
"With the passing of the Directive, Walkers’ Dublin office is well placed to act as the designated legal advisor responsible for ensuring investment managers’ compliance with the Directive, which is one of the requirements of the authorisation process for non-EU managers," says Farrell. "We see demand for investment fund product under the Irish regulatory framework among our fund manager clients. We aim to provide a seamless service to our clients, advising on the formation and maintenance of Irish funds, with the same high service levels that they have come to expect from Walkers."
The value of Irish domiciled investment funds reached a record high of almost EUR900 billion at the end of August 2010 and with nearly 11,000 funds and sub-funds registered, Ireland’s fund industry is thriving and has developed into the European jurisdiction of choice for investment managers and promoters around the world.
"Ireland is a very favourable jurisdiction for international fund managers because it already meets most of the Directive’s requirements, which is illustrated by the fact that many of the requirements are already applicable within the Irish funds industry," says Kevin Molony, Managing Director with Walkers Corporate Services Limited in Dublin. "For example, Irish funds are already required to have a trustee and depositary, while the funds are administered and valued by entities already registered and supervised by the Central Bank of Ireland."
Recent legislative changes in Ireland have been geared towards the implementation of the Directive. These changes relate to the Qualifying Investor Fund (QIF) regime and include the convergence of investor criteria, a reduction in the minimum subscription and clearer guidance with regard to promoter approval. Irish legislative updates have also provided a more efficient mechanism to redomicile funds in Ireland.