More than 200 fund managers and advisers attended a Guernsey AIFMD Masterclass in London this week to hear how the Island’s plans for a dual regulatory regime mean it is perfectly positioned to continue to service clients in the wake of the EU’s Alternative Investment Fund Managers Directive (AIFMD).
Held at the Grand Connaught Rooms in London on Tuesday 19 March, the event, ‘Navigating AIFMD’, examined how Guernsey’s funds sector is preparing to introduce a regime that is AIFMD compliant, while also maintaining existing regulations for those investors and managers who are not obliged to follow the AIFMD route.
Fiona Le Poidevin, Chief Executive of Guernsey Finance, the promotional agency for the Island’s finance industry, said: “We are very pleased that the event was so well attended. The strong turnout shows the continued high level of interest not just in AIFMD itself, which remains a hot topic, but in particular Guernsey’s dual regulatory regime. The audience included many managers and advisers who are familiar with Guernsey and want to keep up to date with our plans regarding AIFMD. However, we also had a significant number of attendees who do not currently use Guernsey but are interested in our model in relation to AIFMD and the opportunities this might present for them.”
The event’s panel comprised Guy Rainbird, Public Affairs Director at the Association of Investment Companies (AIC); Jonathan de Lance-Holmes, Partner at Linklaters; Stephen Foster, Chief Operating Officer at Credit Suisse; and Neale Jehan, Executive Director at KPMG and Chairman of the Guernsey Investment Fund Association (GIFA) Technical Committee. Jarrod Cowley-Grimmond, Director of Finance Sector Development for the Guernsey Government, moderated the panel discussion.
The event began with a short presentation by Mr Jehan on Guernsey’s proposed dual regime. He concluded: “We believe that embracing AIFMD, while recognising that we have a duty to our non-EU clientele and developing a regulatory regime that reflects this, will position Guernsey almost uniquely in the global fund industry in the years to come.”
Mr Rainbird was similarly positive about Guernsey’s preparations for AIFMD. He said that Guernsey was often “ahead of the game” in terms of adopting appropriate regulation, and its plan for a dual regulatory regime was another example of this trend.
Guernsey intends to operate dual regimes from July 2013, which is the deadline for the AIFMD rules to be transposed into EU law. At a basic level this will enable distribution of Guernsey products into both EU and non-EU countries via normal marketing routes, including EU national private placement regimes where they remain available. In addition Guernsey is examining the possibility of operating a Guernsey “opt in” AIFM regime in order to access (on a bilateral basis) EU member states that align their private placement rules with AIFMD. In addition, Guernsey will be engaged in future consultations in relation to how third country ‘passporting status’ will operate from July 2015.
Topics covered at the event included the latest interpretations of the Level 2 rules, delegation structures, depositary rules, letter box entities and an update on progress with co-operation agreements.
Ian Garrett, Partner at FGG LLP, was one of those in attendance. He said the event was extremely informative.
“The quality of the panel was excellent – they provided depth and have got experience which is just what we need. Guernsey is like a friendly port in a stormy sea of financial services and it is stable,” said Mr Garrett.
“We are often approached to form funds and we need to stay abreast of where the world is going in terms of regulation. Arenas and platforms like this are invaluable. They bring Guernsey to London which is a good thing, they keep the profile of Guernsey as a financial centre high and are user-friendly.”
Charles Fox, a member of the funds and financial services team at Mishcon de Reya, was impressed to hear how Guernsey was approaching AIFMD.
“Many other talks have been on the premise that you are in AIFMD. It was refreshing to hear the options and approaches available to managers to determine what market you want to approach and take an active decision about whether you want to be in AIFMD or not. It was interesting to take a step back and have an overview about how an offshore jurisdiction is approaching this in a pragmatic way,” he said.
Guernsey is hosting a further funds event in London in May. The Guernsey Funds Forum 2013 will examine the future shape of the global funds industry.
The event will be held at the Grange St Paul’s Hotel in London on Thursday 2 May and will culminate in a keynote debate featuring industry experts Nigel Vooght, PwC’s Global Financial Services Leader and head of its future-focused initiative ‘Project Blue’, and Better Capital’s Jon Moulton. The debate and the preceding panel sessions will be moderated by ITV News Anchor, Alastair Stewart.
The event is supported by the BVCA, Global Custodian, HFM Week, Limited Partner and unquote”. For more information about delegate passes contact Fiona Murray by email firstname.lastname@example.org or tel. +44 (0) 7781 123808.
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