Comment by Joy Dunbar
Last month the asset management industry came together to
celebrate the launch of the first authorised UCITS-compliant
The UCITS XXV thought leadership symposium, held in Brussels,
was an opportunity for policy-makers, European and national
regulators, service providers, the investment management
industry and investors to discuss the past, present and future
of the framework.
The event also discussed the role that Europe plays as a
regional hub for international investment funds and the global
asset management industry - as a quarter of UCITS investors are
domiciled outside the EU.
Since the first UCITS-compliant fund launched 25 years ago in
1988, the framework has become one of the most successful
investment structures in history.
Over the years the economic backdrop has changed dramatically
and the industry is responding to various regulatory
But the watershed moment for the brand came with the
introduction of UCITS III in 2001, which allowed the use of
derivatives, indices and swap structures.
This resulted in the formation of the alternative UCITS
industry. This has resulted in some in the industry arguing
that some of the financial instruments currently allowed within
the framework should be removed - while others argue that
various new assets should be included under the umbrella.
Ultimately the point of the symposium was for the industry to
discuss the best foundation for the future of the wrapper. The
resulting white paper, which is expected to be published in the
forthcoming weeks, will make recommendations and draw
conclusions to shape the future UCITS agenda.
Many in the industry believe that a period of minimal - or even
no - change is what UCITS needs most of all, in order to give
some clarity and certainty after the instability and upheaval
of the last few years.
But that looks unlikely. With UCITS VII already being discussed
in some quarters, perhaps the only certainty that the wrapper
has to offer is constant change.
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