Ireland is AIFMD-ready

The Alternative Investment Fund Managers Directive (AIFMD) came into force on 21 July 2011 and there was a deadline for transposition into national law of each EU member state by 22 July of this year. The AIFMD creates a legal framework operating at European level to monitor and supervise alternative investment fund managers. The Irish transposing regulations were signed into law on 17 July 2013.

The AIFMD is the final piece in the jigsaw of EU law governing the investment fund and investment fund management sector. This game-changing new legislation, which covers any type of alternative investment fund, including private equity, real estate and hedge funds, will sit alongside the existing UCITS Directive (which applies to retail funds) and the MiFID Directive (which applies to investment managers, stockbrokers and other regulated financial service providers).

The UCITS, MiFID and now AIFMD directives are very much interlinked, simply because they are regulating the same core activity of investment management. The AIFMD strengthens the interaction between UCITS and MiFID, expressly authorising MiFID firms and UCITS management companies to operate and provide services in the alternative investment fund industry. Together with the current UCITS and MiFID regimes, the introduction of the AIFMD means that there is little scope for any business operating in the fund management sector to avoid some form of regulation for the investment fund industry.

As a leading jurisdiction for investment funds, Ireland took a proactive approach to preparing for the AIFMD to ensure it was AIFMD-ready before the implementation date of 22 July 2013.

WHERE ARE WE NOW?

The Central Bank of Ireland has issued its key documentation in connection with the implementation of the AIFMD in Ireland. The release of this key documentation permits alternative investment fund managers (AIFMs) to seek authorisation in Ireland and establish Irish alternative investment funds (AIFs) since 22 July 2013.

The recently-published AIFMD documentation has clarified the Central Bank’s position in respect of a number of key areas, including when the new rules will apply and what types of fund structures and managers might be exempt from the rules.

KEY DOCUMENTS

A new AIF Rulebook.

The AIF Rulebook consolidates for the first time the Central Bank’s rules in relation to AIFMs and AIFs. It contains chapters concerning Retail Investor AIF, Qualifying Investor AIF, AIF Management Companies, Fund Administrators, AIFMs and AIF depositaries.

AIFM and AIF application forms.

The Central Bank has also published AIFMD application forms which include application forms for AIFMs, Qualifying Investor AIFs and Retail Investor AIFs.

Q&A document addressing key questions on AIFMD in Ireland.

The Q&A sets out answers to queries that have been submitted to the Central Bank in connection with the implementation of the AIFMD. The purpose of this document is to limit any uncertainty until definitive positions and practices are finalised and adopted by the Central Bank.

Alternative investment fund managers can now submit applications for authorisation for AIFMD-compliant AIFs and AIFMs.