EUROPE - Jean-Paul Gauzès MEP, the rapporteur for the Alternative Investment Fund Managers (AIFM) directive, has confirmed the European Parliament has postponed the adoption of the new rules on alternative investments such as hedge funds and private equity until September.
An amended version of the directive, which at one point faced more than 1,000 amendments, was given approval by the European Parliament's Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee (ECON) after one of the controversial issues of whether 'third-country' fund managers could market funds into the EU appeared to be resolved. (See earlier IPE article: Rapporteur swamped by over 1,000 AIFM amendments)
Under the revised draft directive agreed by ECON in May, it would require a non-EU manager to "voluntarily subject itself to the directive's requirements", and the financial regulators of its third-country domicile would have to act as agents to the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) "in the supervision of that manager". (See earlier IPE article: EU ministers back AIFM after ECON revises rules)
Following the vote in May, the formal adoption of the directive by the full European Parliament was scheduled for July.
However, Gauzès, the draftsperson responsible for steering the text through Parliament, said the adoption had been postponed and that an agreement would be reached in time for the second plenary session of September.
Gauzès said: "With regret, I must note that the Spanish Presidency of the EU was not able to present a suitable compromise text agreeable to all sides.
"I have now met with the Belgian minister of finance, and the discussions were fruitful.
"Work will continue during the Belgian presidency, and I am confident an agreement will be reached in time for a September vote."
A spokesman for the ECON Committee confirmed that the third country issue was the most important sticking point, namely whether or not to grant non-EU AIFMs a 'passport'. He noted the discussions had come down to the fact the EP rapporteur - Gauzès - wanted to allow passports but the council does not. As a result "Commission compromise proposals on this point were rejected by the council".
In March, the Spanish Presidency of the EU decided to drop the issue of the AIFM from the agenda of the European Council's Economy and Finance (ECOFIN) meeting.
At the time, its said the decision was designed to "ensure the maximum support possible" for the directive and claimed an agreement would be reached before the end of Spain's presidency this month. (See earlier IPE article: MEPs press on with AIFM despite EU postponement)