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Remaining AIFMD VoP applications now 22 January has passed

    • Financial services


    We saw a flurry of VoP applications made to the FCA last month by existing UK AIFMs to catch the FCA’s long-flagged 22 January 2014 deadline. Others, however, are still to submit their VoPs. The conclusion we draw for them from recent Treasury and FCA pronouncements is that it is, of course, not too late - but their VoP submissions should now be a priority.

    The FCA updated the AIFMD latest news section of its website with a statement regarding HMT’s AIFMD transitional arrangements update and sent an update to stakeholders on 14 January 2014.  The Treasury has still to follow up on the announcement in question, but please see our previous briefing of 19 December 2013 on the extension of the UK’s formal transitional arrangements.

    The FCA is still, therefore, awaiting the details of the new arrangements, but it is quite rightly encouraging AIFMs to submit their completed applications as soon as they can after 22 January 2014 to ensure that these will be determined in time for 22 July 2014.  The FCA’s update was keen to emphasise that 22 January was a pragmatic calculation rather than a firm deadline; complete and compliant applications submitted after 22 January 2014 may well be determined within the normal time limit.

    The key here is that an application should be compliant and complete. All applications for authorisation or a VoP will initially be reviewed by a triage team responsible for assessing whether the application contains enough information to be assigned to a case officer.  The FCA will contact all firms who have submitted incomplete applications with a request to submit the missing information.  Once an application has been assigned to a case officer, he or she will become responsible for liaising with the firm with requests for additional information or assurances, if any, during the application process.

    The three month statutory period for the consideration of applications under the Regulations does not start to run until the FCA has been provided with a complete application, with any missing information to be provided to the FCA at least one month prior to the date on which the firm anticipates being authorised. 

    The FCA has, therefore, emphasised the importance of ensuring that applications are complete to allow approval by 22 July 2014, which is required for any firm wanting to be able to use its marketing or management passports after that date.

    In addition, to continue acting as an AIFM after 22 July 2014, an AIFM must in any case also be fully compliant with the requirements of the Directive by then, including the requirement for a depositary to have been appointed regardless of whether its VoP application has yet to be determined by the FCA.  AIFMs whose VoPs have not been determined by that date must in reality risk being told subsequently that they are non-compliant.

    AIFMs should, in short, both continue to prepare and submit their VoP applications to the FCA as soon as possible and ensure that their other arrangements are ready for compliance by 22 July 2014.