The draft Directive on Alternative Investment Fund Managers was published on April 30, 2009. The Proposed Directive has been subject to lots of criticism. Many of the provisions in the Proposed Directive misunderstood the characteristics of different types of alternative investment funds.
It now seems the Proposed Directive will be implemented in one form or another. (The EU’s focus on financial market reform has not been distracted by health care reform like happened here in the US.)
The first problem with the proposed directive is that it has broad definition of “alternative investment fund” so it can sweep up all hedge funds. It seems the the Presidency of the European Council has noticed that the existing definition would capture funds that clearly should not be the target of the Proposed Directive. [see AIFM Issues Note from the EU Presidency]
Unless non-EU managers comply with the rules within three years of the Directive coming into force (probably around 2015) they will be barred from offering their products in the EU. Britain, another center of hedge funds and private equity is campaigning to water down the directive. France, Spain and Germany seem to be very pro-directive and in favor of stiffer regulations.
Britain’s financial services minister, Paul Myners, told a conference: “Smell the coffee! There is going to be a directive.”
For more detail read a client alert from Shearman & Sterling: Update on the European Directive to Regulate Alternative Investment Fund Managers.