IRELAND – The Irish government is planning to launch a general version of its tax-transparent Common Contractual Fund that is not confined to UCITS regulations – giving a boost to asset pooling.

The CCF is an investment vehicle that was introduced in 2003 to enable an internationally recognised pooled pension structure. The market had wanted it extended.

“Legislation to provide for a general CCF, not confined by the UCITS regulations, is expected to be brought forward by the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment later this year,” the finance ministry stated.

The move – announced in the new Finance Act – has been welcomed by industry players.

“This significant development now ensures that the opportunities, benefits and efficiencies available from pooling the assets of investment schemes are available to a much wider investor base,” said the Dublin Funds Industry Association.

“This will reinforce Ireland’s position at the forefront as a jurisdiction of choice for the domiciling of asset pooling investment vehicles,” said DFIA chairman Dan Morrissey.

“The extension of the eligible investor base for the CCF means that there is now a larger range of qualifying institutional/pension investors who can benefit from the efficiencies that the CCF provides.”

Paul McGowan is a tax partner at KPMG who led the industry’s discussions with the government.

“The Finance Bill provisions make the CCF one of the most attractive vehicles for all types of asset pooling,” McGowan said.

“Given the amount of assets typically held within a pooling structure this should lead to a large inflow of assets to the Irish funds industry.”

The CCF was aimed at multinational companies operating pension schemes in a number of different jurisdictions.

The new act also allows for the approval of occupational schemes provided to Irish employers/employees by pension providers based in other EU member states.

“The overseas pension scheme must be operated or managed by an Institution for Occupational Retirement Provision, within the meaning of the EU Pensions Directive, and must be established in a Member State of the European Communities which has implemented the Directive in its national law,” the government stated.