The European Parliament resolved to approve the final version of the Alternative Investment Fund Managers Directive yesterday. This represents the final stage of a process that began more than 18 months ago when, on 29 April 2009, the first draft of the Directive was issued.

The publication of the draft elicited immediate and diverse reactions; reflected in the record number of proposed amendments. Wragge & Co's previous alerts on the main proposals and the proposals by the EU Parliament and EU Council identified the key issues that the directive attempts to address.

Intense lobbying activities from various interest groups have resulted in some significant amendments being agreed to the final draft. However, a number of controversial provisions remain, not least provisions governing minimum capital requirements; remuneration of managers and staff; use of leverage; marketing passports; risk management; depositary liability; disclosure requirements and more recently special asset stripping rules for private equity investors. The agreed text is now available online.

What is clear is that alternative investment fund managers should begin preparing for the Directive now if they have not done so already. The Financial Services Authority has already opened up talks with groups such as the BPF, AIMA, BVCA, IMA and AREF in order to gather views on the impact of the directive. It is also identifying what provisions are likely to create the most difficulties in practice.

The Directive should come into force January 2011 with the deadline for implementing the Directive's rules into national law being January 2013.