As we enjoy the start of the festive season, we are pleased to attach our Christmas special edition of the Funds Bulletin. In case you are in a party-season hurry, the highlights are below.

1. Brexit Article 50 likely to be triggered by Easter – what plans can be implemented now?

With the Government stating that Article 50 will be triggered by Easter, the clock will start ticking for fund managers to complete their assessment of the likely impact of Brexit and implement plans to protect against a "hard" Brexit as much as is reasonably possible. It will be necessary to think about building in flexibility in fund structures and fund documentation to accommodate Brexit (see further our notes on Brexit - Potential Impact on Funds and Practical Steps and Brexit - Impacts and Actions for Listed Funds).

2. AIFMD – controversial ESMA Q&As may affect service provider and delegation arrangements

In its Q&As, ESMA (controversially) states that all AIFMD activities (such as distribution, marketing, administration and valuation) that are not performed by the AIFM must be treated as having been delegated by the AIFM. Current practice is often that the fund itself (rather than the fund manager) appoints third parties directly. It remains to be seen what approach the FCA will take, but if the ESMA approach is implemented by the FCA and other regulators, managers would need to make regulatory notifications when new service providers are appointed as well as adopting new compliance procedures and would need to restructure contractual and operational arrangements in place with service providers. Watch this space…

3. PRIIPs – one year delay confirmed

The Council has now adopted a regulation which delays the PRIIPs package by one year to 1 January 2018. The definition of PRIIPs include funds that are UCITS and AIFs that are made available to retail investors in the EEA. The Regulation will require that these investors are provided with a standardised key information document (KID) pre-investment; see further PRIIPs and KIDs – How are they relevant to funds?

4. 4MLD and beneficial ownership registers

We consider the implementation of the Fourth Money Laundering Directive (4MLD) and how this impacts on the current UK PSC regime (Persons of significant control). The PSC regime is likely to be extended to Scottish limited partnerships and AIM listed funds.

5. FCA's asset management market study and a potential "all-in fee"

The FCA has published an interim report on its asset management market study and concluded that there was limited price competition in relation to actively managed funds and objectives are not always clear.