Tue. Dec 1st, 2020

Planet Compliance

Innovation & Regulation in Finance

ESMA clarifies UCITS investment limits

3 min read

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The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) has published an updated questions and answers document on the application of the Undertakings for the Collective Investment in Transferable Securities Directive (UCITS).

The revised Undertakings for Collective Investment in Transferable Securities (UCITS) Directive puts in place a comprehensive framework for the regulation of harmonised investment funds within Europe. The extensive requirements with which UCITS must comply are designed to ensure that these products can be sold on a cross-border basis.

The most recent version of the Directive (as amended by Directive 2014/91/EU, so called ‘UCITS V’) introduces rules on remuneration policies and sanctions and strengthens the depositary regime.

ESMA is required to play an active role in building a common supervisory culture by promoting common supervisory approaches and practices. In this regard, the Authority develops Q&As as and when appropriate to elaborate on the provisions of certain EU legislation or ESMA guidelines.

The updated Q&A includes two new questions and answers on how investment limits should be applied where a UCITS wants to invest in an umbrella fund. The first new question refers to the fact that pursuant to Article 56(2)(c) of the UCITS Directive, a UCITS may acquire no more than 25% of the units of any single UCITS or other collective investment undertaking. Where the underlying UCITS or other collective investment undertaking is an umbrella fund, should this limit be applied at the level of the umbrella or at the level of the individual sub-funds within the umbrella. ESMA clarified that the limit set out in Article 56(2)(c) should be applied at the level of the individual sub-funds in the UCITS or collective investment undertaking of which the units are to be acquired, to ensure the principle of risk-spreading within the investing UCITS. Where an investment company or a management company is currently applying a different interpretation of this limit, it must at the earliest convenience adjust the funds’ portfolios whilst acting with due skill, care and diligence in the best interest of the UCITS it manages.

The second new question clarifies that pursuant to Article 55(1) of the UCITS Directive, a UCITS may acquire the units of UCITS or other collective investment undertakings referred to in Article 50(1)(e), provided that no more that 10% of its assets are invested in units of a single UCITS of other collective investment undertaking. Where the underlying UCITS or other collective investment undertaking is an umbrella fund, should this limit be applied at the level of the umbrella or at the level of the individual sub-funds within the umbrella. In its response ESMA stated that the limit set out in Article 55(1) applies at the level of the individual sub-funds in the UCITS or collective investment undertaking of which the units are to be acquired. Where an investment company or a management company is currently applying a different interpretation of this limit, it must at the earliest convenience adjust the funds’ portfolios whilst acting with due skill, care and diligence in the best interest of the UCITS it manages.

The ESMA statement and the full Q&A can be found here.

 

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