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The Alternative Investment Fund Managers Directive or AIFMD is a European Union regime for managers of investment funds marketed to professional investors as defined in MiFID II.  It was implemented in response to the Global Financial Crisis 2008.

Being a regime for aimed essentially at funds for professional investors, AIFMD does not include detailed rules on eligible assets or diversification.  It is a manager (as opposed to a product) Directive which closely regulates the operation of alternative investment fund managers and depositaries of alternative investment funds.  The quid pro quo for subjecting a fund to the rigours of the AIFMD regime is the EU passport.  AIFMs authorised in one EU Member State are entitled to passport their activities into all other EU Member States without needing to go through a new authorisation process in the host EU Member State.  Authorised AIFMs are also entitled to use the EU passport to market the EU AIFs that they manage to professional investors across the EU.

What rules and guidance make up the

EU AIFMD Rulebook?


The AIFM Directive is the cornerstone of the AIFMD regime.  It sets out the principles that apply to the regulation of AIFMs and AIF depositaries.  The current AIFMD dates from 2011 and it has been amended, although not substantively, a number of times since.


The amending AIFM Directives need to be read together with the AIFMD in order to understand the current rules applicable to AIFMs and AIF depositaries in the EU.


The Aquest Linked Rulebooks contains a consolidated version of the EU AIFM Directive which consolidates subsequent amendments into the AIFM Directive.

European AIFM Regulations

The AIFMD is supplemented by a number of supporting European Regulations.  These are known as ‘Level 2’ and provide more detail to the principles set out in the Level 1 AIFM Directive.  For example, there are Level 2 AIFM Regulations on the Safekeeping Duties of Depositaries.  


At European Level, there is a bespoke legislation designed specifically for EU money market funds.  The EU Money Market Fund regulations apply to all money market funds domiciled, marketed or managed in the European Union.  Where a money market fund is established as an AIF, both the AIFMD regime and the EU Money Market Regulations apply.


In addition, there are bespoke EU regimes for Venture Capital Funds (EuVECA), Social Entrepreneurship Funds (EuSEF) and Long-Term Investment Funds (ELTIF).  All of these rules, regulations, legislation and guidance are included in the Aquest Linked EU AIFMD Rulebook.


The European Securities and Markets Authority is the European Supervisory Authority with responsibility for investment funds.  As part of fulfilling this role, ESMA issues guidance on a number of matters concerning the AIFMD regime.  


In addition to guidance, ESMA has also issued opinions on matters of importance to the AIFMD regime e.g. asset segregation and custody services.  In order to understand fully how to interpret and apply provisions of the AIFMD, it is important to know what ESMA has said via its guidance and opinions.




One of ESMA’s objectives is to promote supervisory convergence.  In pursuit of this objective, EMSA is committed to being transparent and open in the way that it works.  This includes being transparent regarding how it answers questions it has been asked. As a result, instead of answering individual questions privately, ESMA publishes AIFMD Q&As so that all stakeholders are aware of ESMA’s views on a matter.


ESMA’s AIFMD Q&A document is updated on a periodic basis as and when new Q&As are added.  It is a useful source of guidance and the Central Bank will expect that firms are aware of ESMA’s AIFMD Q&A’s contents before engaging with it.

Aquest Linked Rulebooks

The Aquest Linked EU AIFMD Rulebook brings together in one location all AIFMD rules and AIFMD guidance specific to the AIFMs and AIF depositaries. The Aquest Linked EU AIFMD Rulebook includes individual documents ranging from legislation to guidance and Q&As which have been seamlessly and comprehensively linked so that you can navigate easily from a rule to supplementary rules, guidance and Q&As or vice versa.


The EU AIFMD Rulebook has also been linked to the Irish AIFMD Rulebook so that users can easily identify, for example, how a European rule has been transposed into Irish law or whether there is any Irish guidance relevant to a rule set out in the EU AIFMD Rulebook.

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