Jean-Marc Goy’s invitation from Luxembourg

Luxembourg’s funds industry chairman Jean-Marc Goy invites the world to launch funds from the Grand Duchy – and try the local wines, hears Nick Fitzpatrick.

Jean-Marc Goy, ALFI’s chairperson since June 2023, used to travel 80-100 days a year when he led international affairs at Luxembourg’s financial regulator, the CSSF.

Goy’s time at the CSSF lasted 20 years and spanned the Global Financial Crisis that followed the 2008 collapse of Lehman Brothers.

Most recently at the regulator, he was head of international affairs until 2018 and the gruelling travel schedule was made necessary by meetings with other regulatory bodies, including the ESMA Investment Management Standing Committee and the International Organization of Securities Commissions. The goal, he says, was always to try and align international regulations as much as possible.

Regulatory divergence is a constant irritation to compliance professionals in the funds industry and there was the risk of it increasing following the barrage of crisis-related regulation aimed at financial services firms.

FundsTech conference to take place in April

This barrage was sometimes described as a “tsunami” – a description that Goy, who became a Member of the ALFI Board in 2019 and is a lawyer by background – objects to. The tsunami was not the new regulations, but the financial crisis itself, he says.

“After the financial and economic crisis of 2007 and 2008, there were protests from parts of the industry about the so-called tsunami of regulation. I always took issue with that image – and I still do.

“A tsunami results in destruction and catastrophe. But the destruction was not the regulation that followed the crisis, it was the crisis itself. Regulation was introduced precisely to try and avoid another financial crisis of that scale in future.”

“Sometimes complex and not self-evident”
Where ALFI, the Luxembourg Funds Industry Association, and Goy’s former employer the CSSF engage today, it is frequently on sustainable finance rules, he says. This covers, among others, the green taxonomy, the Sustainable Finance Disclosure Regulation and directives on corporate sustainability reporting and corporate sustainability due diligence.

“The rules are sometimes complex and the way to apply them is not always self-evident. So, there is considerable demand for clarifications and ALFI regularly exchanges with the CSSF on this”

“The rules are sometimes complex and the way to apply them is not always self-evident. So, there is considerable demand for clarifications and ALFI regularly exchanges with the CSSF on this,” says Goy.
At the domestic level, Goy highlights Luxembourg’s fund modernisation law, which was adopted in July last year and covers funds regulated by the Ucits Directive and the Alternative Investment Fund Managers Directive (AIFMD).

“The modernisation was seen as an improvement that updated the toolbox for establishing fund structures in Luxembourg,” says Goy, speaking to Funds Europe at ALFI’s office. “Modernisation included more flexibility for funds to reach minimum thresholds and there was a reduction to the threshold for investors to qualify as well-informed investors, from €125,000 to €100,000, which aligns with EU legislation.”

Why the funds industry is so bad at creating a utility

For securitisations, Goy hopes that the upcoming guidelines of the European Supervisory Authorities (ESAs) on the due diligence requirements, could put Europe on a level playing field with the USA, the largest securitisation market in the world where issuance of structured products was around US$503 billion in 2023 compared to €80 billion in Europe, according to S&P Global figures.

Given the workload relating to reviews of EU fund rules, the regulatory landscape for investment funds is perhaps best described these days as “undulating” rather than as a barrage.

From ALFI’s point of view, it is hoped that Luxembourg will attract more international players and clients, including smaller firms in line with the proportionality approach, which is a general principle of EU law.

“The Ucits Directive and the AIFMD have just been reviewed. But there are apparently”

Concern at further reviews

Goy travels less now but at the time he spoke to Funds Europe he had just returned from ALFI’s Asia roadshow. The continent is a huge market for Luxembourg’s €5.5 trillion funds industry.

Conversations there will have touched on the regulatory reviews in the EU and Luxembourg. These include the Ucits Directive and the AIFMD, as well as revisions to the European Long-Term Investment Fund (Eltif) regime which promises to make private markets assets available to a wider group of investors.

Luxembourg Spotlight

Goy – who is also conducting officer and a member of the board of Capital Group’s Luxembourg management company – points out that because reviews of EU fund regulations have to be explained to participants outside of the EU once concluded, he is becoming concerned at the prospect of revisions, which are too frequent.

“The Ucits Directive and the AIFMD have just been reviewed. But there are apparently already some who feel the texts should be reviewed again,” he says.

“It must be carefully considered whether further reviews really bring added value for investors or take into account the impact on product distribution outside of the EU. We must be mindful about the signals that the EU is sending beyond its borders. Stability of rules is important. Each time a directive is reviewed, the industry has to explain the changes to people in countries where EU funds are distributed,” says Goy.

Ucits-regulated funds are distributed in around 80 countries. Beyond the EU, these include Hong Kong, Chile, the UK and South Africa.

He says a number of regulatory-based issues interest him personally. Among them he highlights the EU Retail Investment Strategy and the broadening of private markets investments through the Eltif fund structure.

“I’m fully supportive of the objective to make the Eltif product more successful at being an EU investment channel that supports the real economy and finances infrastructure, but we it is important that regulatory technical standards do not create an overly restrictive framework, potentially limiting the Eltif’s success.”

Unofficial wine advocate
In a brief aside, Goy – who is born and raised in Luxembourg – lets on he’s not just an advocate for Luxembourg funds.

“I have been suggesting to visitors to this country to try our Luxembourg white wines for a long time already,” he says. “They are really good and compare with German white wines and those from the north-east region of France,” he says.

“And there has been a remarkable improvement in our red wines. Twenty years ago, I would not have recommended people to try red wines from Luxembourg. It was not worth it. However, today you can find Luxembourg red wine comparable to France’s Alsace region,” he says.

However, when visiting ALFI – which shares a building with other industry bodies including Luxembourg for Finance and the Luxembourg Private Equity Association – Goy and your correspondent drank only water.

Luxembourg Roundtable: DORA’s a problem for the management



The tension between urgency and inaction will continue to influence sustainability discussions in 2024, as reflected in the trends report from S&P Global.
This white paper outlines key challenges impeding the growth of private markets and explores how technological innovation can provide solutions to unlock access to private market funds for a growing…


Luxembourg is one of the world’s premiere centres for cross-border distribution of investment funds. Read our special regional coverage, coinciding with the annual ALFI European Asset Management Conference.