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Opalesque France Roundtable: French hedge funds say AIFMD is a success, but regulator warns Financial Stability Board's involvement in regulations may result in new concerns

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French hedge funds and the securities regulator AMF believe the Alternative Investment Fund Managers Directive (AIFMD) will - more than UCITS - boost investor confidence in hedge funds and pave the way for potentially significant asset growth. But further steps are required to fully gain back the trust from institutions.

Participants at Opalesque's third France Roundtable, held in April 2012 in Paris and sponsored by Lyxor Asset Management and Eurex, believe the AIFMD will have a major impact on the hedge fund industry in Europe. Some of the largest funds of funds, like Amundi Alternative Investments, have already shifted their model from offshore to a 100% onshore, European regulated framework. This includes a re-domiciliation of most wrappers (i.e. the funds of hedge funds themselves) as well as their underlying fund structures to onshore jurisdictions. Amundi says the firm is already now fully ready for the arrival of the AIFMD, and explains that this shift was mainly motivated by concerns from their French institutional clients.

Rothschild to announce fund acquisition, managed account partnership; FoF to revamp business strategies

Paris-based asset manager Rothschild & Cie Gestion announced the firm will acquire a fund management company shortly as part of the group's new business strategy. After the acquisition of Héritage Asset Management, this would be Rothschild's second deal in 2012. In addition, Rothschild has decided to partner with a managed account provider and will issue a RFP this summer.

Rothschild and Amundi are examples of European fund of funds groups that are gearing up for a new future through both growth strategies and improving their core investment strategies by adopting dynamic portfolio management processes, proprietary models in turbulence (risk on and off detection), overlay hedges and better liquidity management.

Fee factor crucial to regain allocators' trust

European investors believe that restructuring fees will be a core theme for the next years for hedge funds to regain trust and momentum with the allocator community. The 2/20 model is under huge pressure: “Similar to the iceberg concept, on the surface you see the 2/20 model, but what is happening underneath the water is very different.” New fee arrangements include changes in fee levels and fee formula, as well as claw backs and deferrals.

French regulator warns Financial Stability Board's involvement in regulations may result in new concerns

Patrice Bergé-Vincent, head of the Asset Management Regulation Division at French securities regulator AMF, pointed out that over the next years the industry will come to a clearer distinction between UCITS and AIFM. UCITS products will be more directed to retail investors and AIFs will be reserved for the most sophisticated investors. However, he warned that the increased focus and activities of the Financial Stability Board (FSB) around market regulations may soon turn into a new regulatory paradigm that could be a “new concern for the asset management industry going forward.”

Hear from:

  1. Marc Potter, CFM
  2. Francois Bonnin, John Locke Investments
  3. Sylvie Dehove, Amundi Alternative Investments
  4. Patrice Bergé-Vincent, Autorité des marchés financiers (AMF)
  5. Yves Coignard, Volvar Asset Management
  6. Diego Fluxa, Rothschild & Cie Gestion
  7. Paul Beck, Eurex
  8. Nathanael Benzaken, Lyxor
... background and facts about:
  • Will the banking disintermediation in Europe continue? What will be the consequences?
  • The role of hedge funds and alternatives in Europe
  • How to use the AIFMD as a trigger to develop a robust and buoyant alternative asset management industries
  • Could the proliferation of UCITS have hurt the French market? The inherent risks of (some) UCITS funds
  • The trend to on-exchange trading and clearing of OTC – Updates on EMIR and Eurex Clearing's latest products and initiatives
  • Should commodity investments be allowed for UCITS funds?
  • Why is Lyxor focusing on early stage managers?
Matthias Knab
Director, Opalesque Ltd.
Knab@Opalesque.com

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