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Requirements for licensing of alternative investment funds managers (AIFM) – Part 2

Outsourcing/delegating of tasks by an AIFM

While the last post addressed the issue of capital requirements (see below), the present blog deals with the question to which extent an AIFM may outsource functions already in the course of the licensing procedure (and later when conducting the business as licensed entity).

The outsourcing or delegating of tasks by an AIFM is possible as far as the outsourcing structure can be justified on objective grounds and certain other conditions, such as a written contract, are fulfilled.

However, an AIFM shall not transfer its functions to the extent that it becomes a mere letter box entity. The now adopted version of the implementing regulation (also known as Level II measures) gives indications under which conditions an AIFM is classified as a letter box entity.

An AIFM is generally required with respect to outsourcing that it maintains the necessary resources and expertise to supervise the outsourced functions and to control the risks associated with the outsourcing. Furthermore, the AIFM must be able to exercise the contractually stipulated information, auditing and managerial rights. The AIFM must also continue to make all important decisions especially with regard to the investment strategy.

To avoid to be classified as a letter box entity, the scope of the outsourced functions should not exceed the scope of the functions performed by the AIFM itself by a substantial margin.

The implementing regulation establishes not only quantitative criteria, such as the amount of assets managed, for evaluating the scope of the outsourced functions. The outsourcing structure is to be assessed by regulators with respect to the fulfillment of certain qualitative criteria. These are inter alia

• the importance of the assets the administration is outsourced to achieve the investment goals of funds

• the configuration of delegates

• the types of outsourced tasks in relation to the tasks retained by the AIFM

• the risk profile of the funds, etc.

The regulation was adopted on 19 December 2012 and shall enter into force after three months, unless the European Parliament or the Council raises objections. It is unlikely that the rules discussed here will change.

An AIFM should analyze its outsourcing structures accurately. It should take into account the requirements set forth in the regulation and adjust its outsourcing structures if necessary before submitting a license application to avoid classification as a letter box entity.

(To be continued)

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