Guernsey is one of the first jurisdictions to be recommended for the extension of the third country passport

The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) has published its long awaited advice and opinion on the functioning of the Alternative Investment Funds Managers Directive (AIFMD) EU passport and the National Private Placing Regimes to the European Parliament, Council and Commission.

ESMA considered the possible extension of the passport and, based on a number of factors, assessed six jurisdictions, including Guernsey. ESMA has confirmed that there are no obstacles to extending the ‘third country’ passport to Guernsey, Jersey and Switzerland (subject to enacting pending legislation). No definitive view has been reached on the other three jurisdictions (Singapore, Hong Kong and USA) due to concerns relating to competition, regulatory issues and a lack of sufficient evidence to assess the relevant criteria.

ESMA’s advice will now be forwarded onto the European Parliament, Council and Commission for their consideration on whether to activate the relevant provision in the AIFMD extending the passport through a Delegated Act. It is possible that these institutions may wish to wait until ESMA has delivered positive advice on a sufficient number of other non EU countries before introducing the passport.

Mark Huntley, Managing Director of Heritage International Fund Managers, said: “ESMA’s advice is positive news for Guernsey and its AIFMD dual regime. The concerted response from the regulator, government and industry to the challenges presented by AIFMD demonstrates that the joined up delivery remains a core strength of the jurisdiction and reconfirms Guernsey’s ability to react quickly and effectively to international developments. Combined with depositary offerings both AIFs and AIFMs can be fully serviced in accessing European markets from Guernsey.” 

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