AIFMD Konsultation: feedback statements

Am 14.09.2011 hat die ESMA auf ihrer Webseite 87 Antworten auf die Konsultation zur Implementierung der AIFMD Level 2 Maßnahmen veröffentlicht: http://www.esma.europa.eu/index.php?page=responses&id=185

Wie zu erwarten, liegt den Vertretern der Banken und Custodians insbesondere die Regelung zu den Verwahrrisiken (safekeeping duties) am Herzen. Dementsprechend finden sich in fast allen den Antworten und Vorschlägen der Institute und Verbände Kommentare und (Alternativ-)Vorschläge zu den entsprechenden Ausführungen des Konsultationsschreibens.

Ein weiterer, wichtiger Aspekt, der je nach Entscheidung über die konkreten Umsetzungen durchaus Auswirkungen auf die tägliche Arbeit der Depotbanken in Europa haben könnte, sind die Ausführungen zu den Kontrollaufgaben (oversight functions). Hier besteht bei fast allen Teilnehmern der Konsultation Einigkeit darüber, dass die von der Depotbank durchzuführenden Prüfungen für AIF und UCITS identisch und insbesondere nachgelagert sein sollen. Vielfach wurde die Befürchtung geäußert, dass letztendlich zur Implementierung derzeitiger Vorgaben eine Replizierung der Compliance Funktion des Asset Managers notwendig würde.

Zur Verwahrfunktion folgend (zufällig) ausgewählte Auszüge aus Feedback Statements:

BNP Paribas:

“Depositaries cannot be made liable for events outside their sphere of control and influence. In particular insolvency related events of a sub-custodian to the Depositary should be considered an “external event beyond the depositary’s reasonable control, the consequences of which were unavoidable despite all reasonable efforts to the contrary”. It is beyond the possibility for a Depositary to foresee insolvency of a sub-custodian whatever the nature of the “due diligences” carried out by the depositary and in view of the fact that due to this insolvency acts or omissions of a sub-custodian may result in a loss which
would not have been the case if the subcustodian had not been insolvent. The bankruptcy of the sub-custodian, that overrules the agreement between the sub-custodian and the depositary, prevents the sub-custodian from returning the assets to the depositary as it would have not been the case, if the subcustodian had not been insolvent. Indeed, according to the provisions laid down in the agreement
entered into between the depositary and the sub-custodian the sub-custodian has to return the assets.”

European Trustee and Depositary Forum (ETDF):

“Some of the proposed advices included in this consultation have raised major concerns within the depositary bank community. This is particularly true with respect to the issue of insolvency of sub-custodians which should, in our opinion, be considered as an “external event” since it is beyond the possibility to foresee a situation of insolvency, whatever the nature of the “due diligences” carried
out by the depositary. Making the European depositary bank community liable for the insolvency of sub-custodians would constitute a major and unjustified factor of risk to banking stability in Europe, at a moment when markets are already experiencing difficult times.

Therefore, ETDF urges ESMA to further develop the concept of proportionality in the advice in order to avoid the situation where depositaries would be treated as insurers for the fund industry.”

Und weiter detailliert wird vom ETDF zur Definition des “external event” ausgeführt:

“ETDF is of the opinion that ESMA’s draft advice on the definition of “external event” goes beyond Level 1 text . The interpretation that appears to have been taken of Article 21(12) of the Level 1 text is that the acts and omissions of any appointed sub-custodian are automatically deemed not to be „external
events“. The effect of that is that the depositary is strictly liable for all acts and omissions of any sub-custodian. There is nothing in Article 21(12) that requires or, in ETDF’s view, even supports such an interpretation of the word „external“. This issue is of such fundamental importance that such an interpretation could be considered to be a de facto amendment of the Level 1 text, which would go beyond ESMA’s mandate to provide the Commission with technical guidance.”

Euroclear S.A. / N.V.:

“…the AIFMD art 21 §10 specifically covers the situation where securities assets are held in a CSD and stipulates that such a situation should not be considered as a delegation of the custody function. This also means that the related liability clauses on delegation of the custody function to third parties do not apply. By implication, this means that depositaries are not considered responsible for failures occurring at CSDs. As mentioned above, EU CSDs are subject to specific national and EU legislation that aims to ensure the safety of these financial market infrastructures. Should ESMA nevertheless conclude that a specific
assessment of the CSD must be made by the fund depositary, we believe this assessment should rely on the regulatory assessment, disclosures and transparency measures already required under ESCB/CESR and CPSS/IOSCO standards applicable to CSDs. Furthermore, these CPSS/IOSCO standards are currently under review in view of being strengthened further and this should give the necessary comfort to the AIF(M).

We agree that the loss of securities resulting from fraud, insolvency or default of a clearing or settlement system should be seen as an external event beyond reasonable control. The loss of securities at the level of the CSD is very unlikely. We believe it was for this reason that the clause in Art 21 §10 on SSSs was included in the AIFMD. As this case is specifically dealt with in the text of the AIFMD itself, we do not believe that the AIFMD implementing measures would need to include additional details on this topic.”

Cayman Islands Monetary Authority:

“A depository may delegate its safekeeping functions subject to performing due diligence on the proposed sub-custodian. Such due diligence includes assessing the regulatory and legal framework in which the sub-custodian operates (including country risk, custody risk, enforceability of contractual
agreements). The requirement to assess the law in the country of the sub-custodian could lead to uncertainty for the depository and have a chilling effect on delegation. It would be prudent for ESMA to publish a list of pre-approved countries so that depositories can feel secure about the country
risk of a sub-custodian. Alternatively, it would be helpful for ESMA to publish criteria of countries that would be prima facie acceptable (for example, IOSCO members or Basel II compliance). Such lists should not however preclude a depository from doing its own assessment of countries that are not included on the list.”