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Brexit

What alternative asset managers can expect

On 23 June 2016, the British public voted to leave the European Union after 43 years of membership. Although the results of the referendum are not binding in law and there remains a possibility of a constitutional challenge, the early indications from Prime Minister Theresa May and leading figures within the ruling Conservative Party are that the United Kingdom will proceed with the so-called Brexit. This article considers how Brexit might affect alternative asset managers in the United Kingdom and the US.

Article 50 procedure

The process for a member state exiting the EU is set out in Article 50 of the Treaty of the European Union. Article 50 prescribes that a member state that decides to withdraw must first formally notify the European Council (‘Article 50 Notice’). Following the Article 50 Notice, the European Council will draw up the guidelines for the negotiations of the withdrawal agreement between the EU and the United Kingdom. Once negotiated, the withdrawal agreement must be adopted by a qualified majority of government ministers representing the remaining EU member states after obtaining consent of the European Parliament. The Article 50 Notice also sets a two-year period running, so that an eventual Brexit will occur at the earlier of: (1) the conclusion of the withdrawal agreement; or (2) two years following the Article 50 Notice.

If no agreement has been reached by the end of the two-year period, the negotiations can be extended for a further two years, but only with the unanimous consent of the remaining member states. Alternatively, the United Kingdom will leave the EU with no separation terms in place. The United Kingdom has not yet given the Article 50 Notice, but EU officials have indicated that 1 Jan. 2019 should be the target date for Brexit.

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INFORMING THE HEDGE FUND COMMUNITY With access to some of the industry’s biggest names and an astute and talented group of writers and contributors, The Hedge Fund Journal has established itself as a trusted source of information on the hedge fund industry.