Alternative Investment

Directive AIFMD II And Its Expected Impact On Alternative Investment Fund Managers – Fund Management/ REITs


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New tool or burden?

The amendment to directive AIFMD II brings some welcome changes,
but also a not so insignificant extension of the obligations for
alternative investment fund managers, the advisability of which can
be disputed.

On 25 November 2021, the European Commission presented a
long-awaited amendment to the Alternative Investment Fund Managers
Directive (AIFMD), referred to as AIFMD II. AIFMD II is part of the
package presented by the 2020 Action Plan to create a single EU
market for capital through the so-called capital markets union.
Currently, there is an intense debate at the European Parliament on
what final form AIFMD II should take, with the latest addition
being the amendment of 16 May 2022 (at the time of the editorial
closure of this article). In this article, we explain what changes
are ahead for alternative investment fund managers (alternative
investment funds are hereinafter referred to as
AIFs” and their managers as
AIFMs“).

Overview of changes

1. New complementary services and activities

AIFMD II expands the existing complementary services that AIFMs
can provide. These include:

  1. the provision of credit, including on a cross-border
    basis;

  2. management of benchmarks;

  3. servicing of securitisation SPVs; and

  4. administration of loans in accordance with the directive on
    credit servicers and credit purchasers.

2. Funds providing loans

EU AIFMs managing loan funds will now be subject to new
requirements and obligations:

  1. establishing effective procedures and processes for the
    provision of credit with annual review;

  2. loans granted by an AIF to a single borrower may not exceed 20
    % of the AIF’s capital if the borrower is a financial
    institution, another AIF or a UCITS fund;

  3. an AIF may not extend credit to its manager or the
    manager’s employees, its depository or its representative;

  4. the AIF is obliged to hold at least 5 % of the notional value
    of the loans, excluding loans acquired on the secondary market;
    and

  5. AIFs providing significant loans (60 % or more of the net asset
    value of the AIF) must be in the form of a closed-end fund.

3. Rules on delegation activities of the AIFM

The competent supervisory authorities of EU Member States will
be obliged to submit annual notifications of delegation to the ESMA
if an AIFM delegates “a greater part of the portfolio
management or risk management tasks of the AIF than it retains
itself” to entities established in third countries. AIFMD II
also extends the delegation obligations to all activities listed in
Annex I to AIFMD, including additional functions. However,
following the latest amendment, it is uncertain whether these
obligations will remain in AIFMD II.

The changes introduced in AIFMD II also extend the obligations
of AIFMs to report information to their national supervisory
authorities on measures relating to the third-party delegation of
functions during the licensing process.

4. Requirement for substance

AIFMD II introduces a regulatory presence requirement in the EU.
This means that an EU AIFM must have at least two managing natural
persons with the necessary knowledge and experience to perform the
assigned function resident in the EU. These persons must be
employed full-time or may work with the administrator on another
contractual basis, but in any case, on a full-time basis. Although
a similar regime is not unknown in the Czech Republic, the scope of
information on the managing persons required by the Czech National
Bank may be extended.

5. Tools for liquidity management

AIFMs managing open-ended AIFs will in certain circumstances
have access to the necessary liquidity management tools
(“LMTs“). In addition to the possibility
to suspend redemptions of units or investment shares, AIFMs will be
required to select at least one additional LMT from the list set
out in the new AIFMD II Annex.

6. Regulatory reporting

Changes to the regulatory reporting regime are also proposed,
which will require AIFMs to report on “markets in which they
trade” instead of the previous narrower category of
“main” markets. This change will probably lead to more
detailed and extensive reporting obligations.

7. Depositary

AIFMD II loosens the obligation for AIFs to have a depositary in
their home country. However, depositaries from another EU country
will have to cooperate with both their home supervisor and the
supervisor of the AIF. If a non-EEA depositary is appointed, the
criteria for the appointment will be amended to exclude
depositaries from jurisdictions that are designated as high risk
under the EU Anti-Money Laundering Directive or are on the EU list
of non-cooperative tax jurisdictions.

8. Disclosure of information to investors

AIFMD II expands the amount of information provided to
investors. In particular, it adds the following obligations:

  1. disclose details of the fees and payments paid by the AIFM;
    and

  2. publish information about the possibility and conditions of
    using any LMT for open-ended funds.

In addition, changes are proposed to the periodic reports to
investors, which should now also include:

  1. the composition of loans in the AIF portfolio;

  2. details of all direct and indirect fees and payments charged or
    allocated to the AIF;

  3. details of the parent company, subsidiary or SPV established in
    connection with the AIF’s investments by the AIFM, its
    employees or its directly or indirectly related companies.

9. National private placement regime

Non-EU AIFMs will not be able to place AIFs in the EU under the
national private placement regime if the AIFM and/or the AIF is
located in a jurisdiction that is designated as high risk within
the meaning of the EU Anti-Money Laundering Directive and/or is on
the EU list of non-cooperative tax jurisdictions. Similar changes
are proposed for the marketing of non-EU AIFs managed by EU
managers.

Conclusion

Although the changes introduced by AIFMD II are not
revolutionary, we believe that overall they are more negative than
positive for AIFMs. We cannot help but feel that most of the
changes only increase the administrative burden without providing
corresponding benefits to AIFMs and supervisory authorities
themselves.

At the time of publication of this article, the proposal was
still under consultation in the European Parliament and the Council
of the EU. The latest amendment proposal was presented on 16 May
2022 and it can be expected that AIFMD II will still undergo some
changes.

Once AIFMD II enters into force, the Member States will have 24
months to implement it into national law. The changes will
therefore not become effective in the Czech Republic until 2024 or
2025.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.

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