On 15 May 2013 the Central Bank of Ireland issued the necessary application forms and accompanying rulebook to enable alternative investment fund managers (“AIFMs”) to apply for authorisation under the new Alternative Investment Fund Managers Directive (“AIFMD”).
This means that the Central Bank is now in a position to receive applications for authorisation of Irish AIFMs (including self-managed alternative investment funds (“AIFs”)) under this new regulatory regime. This will be particularly welcome news for those fund promoters who are anxious to ensure that they can benefit from the AIFMD marketing passport at the earliest possible opportunity and the Central Bank is demonstrating its clear commitment to ensuring that the necessary arrangements are in place to facilitate such promoters.
In addition to the application forms, the Central Bank has published a new format “AIF Rulebook”, which sets out text for the conditions to authorisation that will be applied to Irish AIFMs and AIFs.
The Central Bank has also helpfully published a Q&A document which sets out answers to various queries that are likely to arise in relation to the implementation of the AIFMD in Ireland. In particular, the Q&A document seeks to address a number of key questions as to how the Central Bank intends to approach the transition to the new regime and is intended to limit any uncertainty until definitive positions and practices are finalised at European level. Specifically, the Q&A document provides guidance on what is expected of Irish AIFMs and AIFs prior to 22 July 2014 and what remains permissible during the transitional period between 22 July 2013 and 22 July 2014, by which time all EU AIFMs (including self-managed Irish AIFs) will be required to have applied for the requisite authorisation.
The following are some of the key points arising from the Q&A document:
- The Central Bank has confirmed that they will continue to implement the 24 hour turn-around time for Qualifying Investor AIFs (“QIAIFs”).
- Applications for authorisation of new AIFs under the existing regime can be made by new fund promoters prior to 22 July 2013 (the deadline for receipt of applications for new QIFs is 20 July 2013).
- Existing AIFMs may continue to establish new sub-funds for existing Irish AIFs under the existing regime during the transitional period (i.e. the period from 22 July 2013 to 22 July 2014 or, if earlier, the date upon which they become authorised as an AIFM).
- Existing AIFMs may establish new Irish AIFs in accordance with the new AIF Rulebook requirements during the transitional period and AIFMs may rely on depositories that do not have an AIFMD-compliant authorisation during this period.
- The Central Bank will continue to authorise Irish AIFs with a non-EU AIFM. Any QIAIF which was authorised prior to 22 July 2013 and which designates a non-EU entity as its AIFM will only be obliged to ensure that it has an AIFM capable of carrying out all the tasks of an authorised AIFM by 22 July 2015.
The Central Bank has indicated that it will update the Q&A to address any material additional queries that arise in relation to the transposition of AIFMD.
Copies of the application forms, AIF Rulebook and Q&A document are available here