The clearing-for-everything parade continues. Christopher Faille reviews three representative comments among those just released by ESMA, elicited by its consultation paper on the new clearing obligation for interest-rate swaps.
The authors want a new "Restricted UCITS" label created to ward off a possible arms race in which depositaries otherwise will attempt to satisfy their clients in a competitive way in an escalation that will end with them "offering guarantees for risks they cannot really control."
The EC is proposing changes in UCITS, especially targeted at the roles and liabilities of depositaries. We summarize here the proposal itself, and a responsive position paper put out by the Alternative Investment Management Association.
The member states of the EU are expected to enact the pertinent legislation in July 2013. Then a London-based fund will be able to market in Italy by virtue of an intra-EU “passport,” although a hedge fund firm in New York or Hong Kong won’t be able to get such a passport for some time to come. The outsiders will have to work country-by-country, and this may well put them at a serious competitive disadvantage.
After a survey of recipients of the UCITS Alternative Index, the UAI Industry Survey Q1 2012, Alix Capital reports that majorities expressed satisfaction with the current level of allocation for certain strategies: commodities, emerging markets, forex, and macro global strategies. But there was a lot of interest in increasing allocations to CTAs, equity market neutral, and volatility-based strategies. The strategy that receives the largest negative response (largest intended reduction in portfolio allocation) is fixed income.
Since transaction costs and the illiquidity of certain portions of an index make ideal tracking impossible, there will be a difference between the return of a tracking ETF, such as those tracking ETFs that are structured as UCITS in Europe, and the return of the underlying index or benchmark. The European Securities and Markets Authority maintains that investors should be informed of the factors that are likely to affect the size and the volatility of this difference.