ESMA consults on liquidity management tools for funds

The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) is seeking input on draft guidelines and technical standards under the revised Alternative Investment Fund Managers Directive (AIFMD) and the Undertakings for Collective Investment in Transferable Securities (UCITS) Directive. Both Directives aim to mitigate potential financial stability risks and promote harmonization of liquidity risk management in the investment funds sector.

Verena Ross, ESMA chair, said in a statement: “These new rules being proposed are in line with the latest global standards provided by the FSB and IOSCO, and will contribute to the strengthening of the EU regulatory and supervisory regime for investment funds. By having the right implementing rules in place, we can make the EU framework for investment funds both more resilient and more efficient, supporting the development of attractive, effective and stable EU capital markets.”

In the draft Regulatory Technical Standards (RTS) on the characteristics of Liquidity Management Tools (LMTs) ESMA defines the constituting elements of each LMT, such as calculation methodologies and activation mechanisms.

ESMA also publishes draft Guidelines on LMTs of UCITS and open-ended AIFs, providing guidance on how managers should select and calibrate LMTs, in light of their investment strategy, their liquidity profile and the redemption policy of the fund.

These draft RTS and guidelines are designed to promote convergent application of the Directives for both UCITS and open-ended AIFs and make EU fund managers better equipped to manage the liquidity of their funds, in preparation for market stress situations. Additionally, they intend to clarify the functioning of specific LMTs, such as the use of side pockets, a practice that currently varies significantly across the EU.

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