On 15 May 2013, the regulator of the funds industry in Ireland, the Central Bank of Ireland (the “Central Bank”), announced that it is now accepting applications under the Alternative Investment Fund Managers Directive (the “AIFMD”).

The Central Bank also published the relevant Application Forms, as well as its AIF Rulebook, making it the first regulator in Europe to provide such clarity on its approach to applications under AIFMD. The AIF Rulebook details the requirements relating to alternative investment funds (“AIFs”), alternative investment fund managers (“AIFMs”), AIF management companies, fund administrators and depositaries. The Central Bank also issued a Q&A document clarifying the structures and processes that will allow investment managers to comply with the AIFMD. All of this AIFMD related documentation is currently available on the Central Bank’s website as well as draft application forms for new AIFMD compliant AIFs.

Ireland enjoys a position as a leading jurisdiction for the domiciliation and servicing of hedge funds (catering for over 40% of alternative funds globally). Accordingly, the Irish funds industry took a proactive approach in actively engaging with fund managers around the world for the purpose of ensuring that Ireland was AIFMD ready at an early stage and the Central Bank’s AIFMD documentation reflects this preparatory work.

Ireland’s Qualifying Investor Fund (“QIF”) is already deemed to be the most AIFMD ready product currently available and a total of 1,664 were established as of December 2012. As a result, and in anticipation of the introduction of the AIFMD, total assets held in QIFs have doubled since 2009, when the first draft of the AIFMD was published.

The announcement by the Central Bank that it is now in a position to accept applications for AIFs and AIFMs under the AIFMD should further cement Ireland’s position as a leading jurisdiction for the domiciliation of hedge funds and it will enable AIFMs which wish to avail of the passport under the AIFMD to be able to do so without delay from 22 July 2013.