For Jersey and Guernsey, the ESMA Advice was positive: no obstacles exist to the extension of the AIFMD passport to these jurisdictions. AIFMD Article 67 envisages that a delegated act will follow within three months to implement this advice. However, the time-frame for this now appears to be uncertain.
The Advice notes that the Commission are obliged to adopt a delegated act extending the EU passport to non-EU AIFs and non-EU AIFMs within three months of receipt of positive advice from ESMA (although the date on which the rules will become applicable in all Member States will be specified within in the delegated legislation. This date will be determined according to a number of listed criteria e.g. internal market, investor protection, risk monitoring). There are further provisions in AIFMD Article 58 that allow the European Parliament and Counsel to object to the delegated act within 3 months (increasing to 6 months if the European Parliament or Counsel request).
However, the press release issued by ESMA on publication of the Advice states that “the institutions may wish to consider waiting until ESMA has delivered positive advice on a sufficient number of non-EU countries before introducing the passport in order to avoid any adverse market impact that a decision to extend the passport to only a few non-EU countries may have”.
A total of 22 non-EU jurisdictions were identified for detailed assessment by ESMA on a country-by-country basis. The Advice issued on 30 July 2015 relates to only 6 of these 22. Only Jersey and Guernsey were the subject of ‘positive’ advice from ESMA, although pending national legislation will remove remaining obstacles in Switzerland shortly. ESMA did not reach a definitive view on Hong Kong (more time required for assessment), Singapore and USA (ESMA recommended the EU delay a decision on these 2 jurisdictions).
In its view, ESMA does not have sufficient information in relation to the remaining 16 identified non-EU jurisdictions in order to perform the substantive assessment necessary to underpin any advice it issues pursuant to AIFMD Article 67(1)(b).
ESMA aims to finalise the assessments of Hong Kong, Singapore and the USA as soon as practicable and to assess further groups of non-EU countries – until it has provided advice on all the non-EU countries that it considers should be included in the extension of the passport.