The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) has issued a directive providing temporary regulatory relief to entities including UCITS management companies and authorised AIFMs that may be affected by the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.
Following other regulators, including the Commission de Surveillance du Secteur Financier (CSSF) and Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the move means affected funds will have more time to lodge their yearly and half yearly reports, as the investment industry comes to terms with an unprecedented lockdown.
Funds with a December year-end will have an extra two months to publish annual reports, with an extra month for half-yearly updates. Affected firms are expected to inform their National Conduct Authorities, as well as informing investors about the delay, the reason for the delay, and the new estimated publication date.
‘ESMA is aware that the confinement measures taken by Member States to prevent COVID-19 contagion present significant difficulties and challenges for fund managers and auditors in preparing their periodic reports for publication within the regulatory deadlines,’ the regulator said.
The pan-European watchdog added that these difficulties should be taken into account by local National Competent Authorities (NCAs), who should adopt a risk-based approach and not prioritise supervisory actions against firms’ that may struggle to meet their reporting deadline.
‘ESMA will continue to closely monitor the situation and will take or recommend any measures necessary to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on timely and appropriate periodic disclosure by fund managers in respect of the funds they manage or market.’
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