The much discussed UCITS V Directive was published in the European Union’s Official Journal today, 28 August 2014. UCITS V amends Directive 2009/65/EC on undertakings for collective investment in transferable securities (“UCITS”). It will affect the existing regulatory framework for UCITS in three main areas, namely: (i) the role of the depositary; (ii) remuneration; and (iii) sanctions. In particular, UCITS V clarifies and strengthens the depositary function, in addition to aligning the UCITS legislation with certain aspects of the Alternative Investment Fund Managers Directive ("AIFMD").
Member states now have until 18 March 2016 to transpose UCITS V into national law. UCITS V also requires the European Securities and Markets Authority to draft guidelines clarifying the exact scope of the UCITS V remuneration requirements and their practical application. These guidelines will be preceded by a public consultation, which should take place over the coming months.
UCITS V will have a far-reaching impact. According to statistics published by the European Fund and Asset Management Association, as at the end of 2013, there were over 35,000 UCITS funds with approximately EUR 6.9 trillion in assets and sold in 86 countries. Moreover, these numbers are set to increase. In a recent survey commissioned by Matheson and conducted by the Economist Intelligence Unit (the “EIU Survey”), 56% of the 200 managers surveyed predicted that their firms would, by 2016, have over $1bn in UCITS (by assets under management). Ireland is a location of choice for UCITS funds, with 80% of Irish domiciled funds structured as UCITS.