Between 27 February 2015 and 10 April 2015, Singapore, Australia, Korea, New Zealand, thePhilippines and Thailand (the “Working Group”) are seeking feedback on the proposed rules that will govern the operation of the Asia Region Funds Passport (the “ARFP”). This was jointly announced by the Ministry of Finance (the “MOF”) and the Monetary Authority of Singapore (the “MAS”) on 27 February 2015. In Singapore, any comments or feedback on the proposed rules is to be submitted to the MAS.

Background

The ARFP is an initiative by the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (“APEC”) Finance Ministers. When implemented, the ARFP will allow fund managers operating in a passport member economy to offer passport funds in other passport member economies under a streamlined authorisation process. A passport fund is defined under the draft passport rules to mean a regulated collective investment scheme (“CIS”) or a sub-fund of a regulated CIS that is registered as a passport fund by its home regulator. In Singapore a regulated CIS is a scheme that is established in Singapore and authorised under the Securities and Futures Act (the “SFA”) and the manager of the authorised scheme is the operator of the scheme.

Current consultation

The current consultation follows an earlier one conducted in April 2014. The Working Group has since refined the ARFP arrangements after taking into account the feedback received from the earlier consultation. The refined arrangements are now being proposed in a draft memorandum of understanding (the “draft MOU”) which, when signed, will signal an economy’s commitment to participate in the ARFP and implement the necessary arrangements. For the current consultation, the non-confidential annexes to the draft MOU in relation to the following sections have been released for comment:

  • Host economy laws and regulations: Sets out the obligations that may be imposed on a passport fund or its operator in a host economy by the host economy laws and regulations.
  • Common regulatory arrangements: Sets out the regulatory arrangements for passport funds (which include the application process for passport funds and regulator supervision of passport funds). The arrangements are designed to be given effect in, but not directly incorporated into, the law of a participating economy.
  • Passport rules: Sets out a common set of requirements with which the operators of passport funds and certain other persons involved with passport funds will be required to comply on an ongoing basis. The passport rules contain provisions that govern the behaviour of a passport fund in both the home and host economies. The passport rules are designed to be directly incorporated into the law of a participating economy.

Implementation timeline

The indicative timeframe for establishing and implementing the ARFP is as follows:

  • August 2015: Working Group finalises the MOU
  • September 2015: Willing and ready economies will become party to the MOU

Parties to the MOU will endeavour to implement changes to legislation and regulation where necessary to give effect to the ARFP arrangements within 12 months after becoming party to the MOU. When at least two economies give effect to the ARFP arrangements, eligible CIS in these economies can access the ARFP arrangements.

Reference materials

The following materials are available.

From the MOF/MAS websites www.mof.gov.sg/www.mas.gov.sg:

From the ARFP website www.fundspassport.apec.org: