AIFMD reporting pegged top concern

But fund managers should be more concerned about the lack of information and uncertainty still inherent in the directive, according to a panel of industry experts.

Nearly half (41 percent) of delegates at the Association of the Luxembourg Fund Industry's (ALFI) alternatives fund conference cited reporting burdens as the biggest worry of the Alternative Investment Fund Managers Directive (AIFMD).

The conference delegates comprised a mixture of private equity, hedge fund, and real estate fund managers, as well as industry service providers.

Jirí Król, deputy head of government & regulatory affairs at the hedge fund trade body Alternative Investment Management Association (AIMA), said there were multiple reasons for the reporting concerns. He noted the time and cost of setting up the infrastructure required not only to report to national regulators, but also to gather the data in the first place.

He cited the experience of recently-regulated fund managers in the US, who are now required to file a Form PF, as a warning to fund managers. “We have always been active in trying to draw people's attention to the issue [of reporting], because we started with Form PF in the US and had a tremendous shock with the complexity and cost.”

Michael Collins, public affairs director of the European Private Equity & Venture Capital Association (EVCA), agreed that reporting is an issue for fund managers and questioned its overall purpose.

“The drive for data will be an ongoing feature of the industry. Can policymakers interpret it all?”

However, Collins doesn't agree that reporting should be the top concern for fund managers. Collins said the EVCA was worried about the uncertainty and lack of available information on the AIFMD, both at the EU and national level.

He was also concerned with divergence of interpretation between different member states and so-called 'gold-plating' – a term used in European Union law to describe the practice of national bodies exceeding the terms of European Union directives when implementing them into national law.

Collins used the example of some member states charging fees for firms that are using the AIFMD's marketing passport, which PEM exclusively revealed back in August, as member states going above and beyond the directive.