The Central Bank of Ireland (the Central Bank), the Irish regulatory authority for the fund sector, has just published a new alternative investment fund (AIF) handbook (the AIF Handbook). This contains complete details regarding the manner in which the Alternative Investment Fund Managers Directive (AIFMD) will be applied to AIFs in Ireland.
The Central Bank is the first European regulator to issue this level of detailed guidance. The AIF Handbook revises and streamlines the existing non-UCITS regime in Ireland and upgrades it to reflect the requirements of the AIFMD.
The early publication of the AIF Handbook, well in advance of the July 2013 implementation date for the AIFMD, has been welcomed by representatives of the funds industry in Ireland. The Central Bank has confirmed that its policy review is now complete and, although some minor amendments may be permitted to the AIF Handbook following technical review, it will be possible to make new applications and have these processed in accordance with the new AIF Handbook from the end of quarter one 2013 – well in advance of the effective date of the AIFMD of 22 July 2013. This is expected to further boost Ireland’s position as a leading centre for alternative funds in Europe.
Interestingly the existing requirement for promoter approval will be removed with respect to AIFs once this handbook becomes effective. In addition to removing the existing onerous requirement for promoters to have €635,000 in capital, this amendment will further assist in facilitating alternative managers to bring products to market quickly because they will not be constrained by the requirement for prior approval as promoter. It can be noted that the Central Bank already provides a fast-track approval process with respect to eligible Qualifying Investor Funds (QIFs), whereby they may receive regulatory approval in only 24 hours in Ireland.
In this context also see: Delegation of Investment Management under the AIFMD