More than 50% of fund managers, prospective clients and consultants attending a recent Northern Trust seminar on the European Union’s Alternative Investment Fund Manager Directive (AIFMD) said they believed investors would still not be engaged in AIFMD considerations by December 2015.
These latest findings echo a previous survey conducted by Northern Trust in 2012 where a significant number of respondents had concerns over AIFMD, with close to 70% citing their investors were not engaged in AIFMD considerations at the time.
Ian Headon, of Northern Trust Depositary Services, said: "Next year is an important milestone in AIFMD deployment. The fact that managers still feel that investors, the intended beneficiaries of the Directive, will not be engaged in December 2015 comes as somewhat of a surprise."
The primary benefit of the AIFMD for asset managers is the creation of a pan-European passporting regime, making distribution easier. However, despite these distribution opportunities, two thirds (66%) of the 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 AIFMD will have no implication on their future product strategy.
Toby Glaysher, head of Northern Trust’s Global Fund Services business in Europe, Middle East and Africa, said: "Our findings show that 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. 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."
Northern Trust’s Global Fund Services business provides custody, fund administration, investment operations outsourcing, and ETF solutions to investment managers across the globe and across the spectrum of asset classes.
In 2013, it announced it was expanding its Depositary Services capabilities across multiple fund types, asset classes, fund locations and investment strategies. Northern Trust will now offer depositary services in the United Kingdom and The Netherlands, in addition to its established services in Ireland, Luxembourg and the Channel Islands.