The Alternative Investment Fund Managers Directive or ‘AIFMD’ is a European Union regime for managers of alternative investment funds marketed to professional investors. It was implemented in response to the Global Financial Crisis 2008.
Ireland has a very well established and developed regime for the regulation, authorisation and supervision of AIFs and AIFMs. Taken together, the rules, regulation and legislation applicable to AIFs and AIFMs in Ireland forms the Irish AIFMD rulebook. However, the Irish AIFMD rulebook is not one document that is located in one place. Instead it is a collection of documents located across several different resources.
What rules and guidance make up the
irish AIFMD Rulebook?
Being a European Directive, the AIFMD does not have direct effect in Ireland. Instead, in order to be included in the Irish statute book, a European directive has to be transposed into Irish law. This was done through Statutory Instrument which is secondary legislation. So, in Ireland, the AIFMD is implemented by the Irish AIFM Regulations.
The Irish AIFM Regulations transpose the AIFMD into Irish law. This has subsequently been amended on a number of occasions. The amending Irish statutory instruments/regulations need to be read together with the primary Irish AIFM Regulations in order to understand the current rules applicable to AIFs, AIFMs and AIF depositaries in Ireland.
The Aquest Linked Rulebooks contains a consolidated version of the Irish AIFM Regulations which consolidates subsequent amendments into the primary Irish 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 AIFMD.
The Level 2 AIFMD rules are set out in European Regulations which have direct effect in Irish law. This means that they apply in Ireland without needing to be transposed into Irish law. For example, there are Level 2 AIFM Regulations on the Safekeeping Duties of Depositaries. These form part of Irish law - even though you will find them in EUR-Lex rather than the Irish Statute Book.
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. As these rules are set out in EU regulations, they have direct effect in Ireland and so are part of the Irish AIFMD rulebook.
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 form part of the Irish AIFMD Rulebook and are included in the Aquest Linked EU AIFMD Rulebook.
Although the AIFMD is a harmonised regime for AIFMs, it is not a maximum harmonisation regime. This means that there is scope for national competent authorities, such as the Central Bank of Ireland, to apply additional rules in areas not governed by the AIFMD. In Ireland, the Central Bank’s additional rules are set out in the Central Bank AIF Rulebook.
The Central Bank AIF Rulebook does not repeat rules or regulations set out in other legislation nor do they contain guidance. The Central Bank AIF Rulebook stands alone but must be read in conjunction with the Irish AIFM Regulations. The fact that these two documents must be read together to understand the Irish AIFMD Rulebook is part of what makes the Irish AIFMD rulebook so difficult to navigate.
The Central Bank has issued guidance on a number of AIFMD topics to help AIFs, AIFMs, AIF depositaries and their advisors to understand the Central Bank’s expectations. This Central Bank guidance forms an important part of the Irish AIFMD Rulebook. While the Central Bank’s guidance is not necessarily enforceable in and of itself, it does indicate to AIFs, AIFMs and AIF depositaries how the Central Bank expects them to comply with the AIFMD rules.
The Central Bank 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, the Central Bank publishes AIFMD Q&As so that all stakeholders are aware of the Central Bank’s views on a matter.
The Central Bank 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 the Central Bank AIFMD Q&A’s contents before engaging with it.
The Central Bank AIFMD Q&A contains over 100 Q&As, most of which are directly referable to a specific provision of the Irish AIFM Regulations, the Central Bank AIF Rulebook or Irish investment fund legislation.
Aquest Linked Rulebooks
The Aquest Linked Irish AIFMD Rulebook brings together in one location all AIFMD rules and AIFMD guidance specific to the Irish AIFs, AIFMs and AIF depositaries. The Aquest Linked Irish 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 Irish AIFMD Rulebook has also been linked to the European 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 European guidance relevant to a rule as it applies in Ireland.