The governments of Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Korea, Philippines and Thailand have recently released a public consultation paper in respect of a proposed regulatory arrangement for the cross-border offer of collective investment schemes in participating APEC economies, known as the Asia Region Funds Passport (ARFP).

The release of the consultation paper on 16 April 2014 follows the signing of a Statement of Intent on 20 September 2013 by Australia, Korea, New Zealand and Singapore at the APEC Finance Ministers’ meeting in Nusa Dua, Bali.

Expected to commence in 2016, the proposed ARFP would allow a fund manager to offer a fund regulated by one passport member economy to investors in other passport member economies under a streamlined regulatory framework, similar to the European UCITS model.

It is expected that by facilitating the cross-border distribution of fund products, the ARFP, once implemented, would effect an increase in fund activity in the Asia Pacific Region and would ultimately benefit the Asian funds industry and each participating economy.

The consultation paper sets out the substantive rules that would apply to passport funds and fund managers, including the regulation of licensing and reporting as well as investment restrictions.

Responses to the consultation must be submitted by 11 July 2014. We are currently reviewing this consultation paper with a view to submitting a response and would be delighted to discuss any particular concerns or comments you may have in relation to the consultation paper and proposed ARPF.

The consultation paper is available on the APEC ARFP website.