The European Commission wrote to asset managers last week warning them of the “legal repercussions that need to be considered” in the event of the UK departing the bloc without concluding a withdrawal agreement.
These considerations are important in view of the “considerable uncertainties” regarding the agreement of such a deal, according to the commission.
The notice, first reported by Ignites Europe is one of Brussels’ toughest Brexit warnings to the asset management industry to date. It outlined scenarios of market shutout for UK fund companies, strict criteria for so-called delegation and even requirements for asset managers to review their disclosures and eligible investments.
“The commission’s note brings home the particular implications Brexit has for the fund management industry,” said Ashley Kovas, senior regulatory intelligence expert at Thomson Reuters.
The commission reminded companies that UK Ucits funds will cease to carry the Ucits label on March 30, becoming non-EU alternative investment funds, which can no longer be widely sold to EU retail investors.
UK Ucits management companies and alternative investment managers will also be locked out of the market after Brexit, although EU subsidiaries of such companies can continue to operate in the single market.
However, significantly, Brussels said branches of UK managers will not benefit from this status, being treated as branches of non-EU alternative investment fund managers when the UK becomes a so-called third country.
The commission also took a tough line on delegation — the practice of outsourcing functions such as portfolio management to other countries — telling fund companies that in the absence of co-operation agreements between EU regulators and the UK, they will not be able to outsource investment management to UK entities.
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