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Investors will not engage with AIFMD by December 2015, fund managers say

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European institutional investors will not embrace the Alternative Investment Fund Managers Directive (AIFMD) within the next two years, according to a recent survey of fund managers.

More than half the fund managers, prospective clients and consultants attending a Northern Trust seminar on the Directive said they believed investors would still not be engaged in AIFMD considerations by December 2015.

Ian Headon, senior vice-president at Northern Trust, said the news was unexpected.

“Next year is an important milestone in AIFMD deployment,” he said.

“The fact managers still feel investors, the intended beneficiaries of the Directive, will not be engaged in December 2015 comes as something of a surprise.”

However, the findings echo a previous survey Northern Trust conducted in 2012, which showed a significant number of respondents had concerns over the Directive, with close to 70% saying their investors were not engaged in AIFMD considerations at the time.

AIFMD is primarily intended to benefit asset managers by creating a pan-European passporting regime, making distribution easier.

However, despite these distribution opportunities, two-thirds (66%) of the seminar attendees still saw the directive primarily as a compliance exercise, an increase on the 64% who felt the same a year ago.

Less than 15% of attendees believe the Directive is a strategically important opportunity for their business, and 62% of attendees reported that the AIFMD would have no implications for their future product strategy.

Toby Glaysher, head of Northern Trust’s global fund services business in Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA), said: “Our findings show the benefits of AIFMD are not yet translating into strategic opportunities and the focus for fund managers remains on the workload required to implement the Directive.”

He added: “At Northern Trust, we understand the increasing regulatory challenges our clients face and will continue to provide regular updates from our experts to help them navigate the changing regulatory landscape.”

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