Covid-19: Undertakings for collective investment

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Pierre Vanholsbeke

Associate

Posted on Tuesday 14 April 2020- 4pm

On 8 April 2020, the Financial Services and Markets Authority (“FSMA”) published a press release with information relevant for undertakings for collective investment (“UCIs”).

UCIs need to continue to comply with all the legal and regulatory provisions applying to them. However, given the current circumstances, the FSMA is prepared to show the necessary flexibility in the rules’ practical application if there is good reason. Moreover, the FSMA will not, in the coming weeks, undertake any regulatory initiative that would constitute an additional burden for UCIs.

The FSMA will closely monitor the evolution of the net assets and the operations of Belgian UCIs. UCIs facing a difficult situation due to the Covid-19 pandemic should immediately inform the FSMA.

Other specific information includes:

  1. Use of liquidity instruments

    Although the Belgian legislation permits the use of liquidity instruments (swing pricing, anti-dilution levy or redemption gates), the articles of associations and the prospectus of many UCIs do not provide for the use of such instruments that can help to master liquidity issues.
    It is likely that the government will take decisions to temporarily facilitate the use of such instruments, regardless of what the articles of association and the prospectus may or may not provide.

  2. Net Asset Value (“NAV”)

    The absence of accounting staff members due to illness or the lockdown may make it difficult to calculate the NAV at the usual frequency. The government will probably propose a temporary regime relaxing the conditions under which the decision to reduce the frequency of the NAV calculation must be taken. Under this regime, an amendment to the legal documentation would no longer be required and investors would simply be informed by means of a press release.

  3. Shareholders/board meetings and the publication of the annual accounts

    Regarding organising shareholders and board meetings (mainly concerning holding meetings by electronic communication systems) as well as the publication of the annual accounts, we refer to our publication of 10 April 2020, which can be found here.

 

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The above information is merely intended as comment on relevant issues of Belgian law and is not intended as legal advice. Before taking action or relying on the comments and the information given, please seek specific advice on the matters that are of concern to you

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