France has awarded 30 licences under the Alternative Investment Fund Managers Directive (AIFMD), most recently to Amundi Alternative Investments, while others are being processed.
According to October numbers from the Paris Fund Industry, a business forum, France has issued more approvals than the UK, Luxembourg and Ireland combined.
Six asset managers have withdrawn applications, but the speed of approval signals France’s ambition to compete for cross-border funds business.
Paul-Henri de La Porte du Theil, chairman of the Association Française de la Gestion Financière, a trade body and founding member of the Paris Fund Industry, says France is ready to compete internationally for AIFMD business.
Amundi Alternative Investments says up until 2009, its alternative funds were domiciled offshore. With the advent of the AIFMD, activities have been transferred to Europe.
De La Porte du Theil acknowledges that there has been a broader trend of funds redomiciling from France to Luxembourg and Dublin. He says many foreign investors think “France is France, the UK is the UK, and Luxembourg is Europe” because Luxembourg has managed to create an impression that “when you buy a Luxembourg fund, you buy European Ucits”.
He predicts a total of 200 asset managers will be licenced in France by the end of next year.
He says many asset managers in the country were already prepared for the AIFMD because existing French regulations are very similar.
The Association of the Luxembourg Fund Industry says ten alternative investment fund managers have received a licence in Luxembourg. The Irish Funds Industry Association says four received authorisation. The Financial Conduct Authority could not provide numbers.
The 30 asset managers approved are not named.
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