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The European Long-Term Investment Funds Regulation

Harmonised rules have now taken effect across the EU

The introduction of European Long Term Investment Funds (ELTIFs) provides for a new type of investment fund, available to both retail and professional investors. Regulation (EU) 2015/760 on European long-term investment funds (the ELTIF Regulation) took effect on 9 December 2015 and implements harmonised EU rules relating to the authorisation, investment policies and operating conditions for ELTIFs.

The European Commission estimates that between €1.5 to €2 trillion will be required in order to finance infrastructure projects in Europe up to 2030. A key impetus for the introduction of the ELTIF is to create a source of funding for these infrastructure and other long-term projects as an alternative to bank lending or raising capital on the stock exchange, and ultimately to promote European economic growth. Supporting the take-up of ELTIFs has been identified by the Commission as a priority work area within the Capital Markets Union (CMU) project.

It is anticipated that ELTIFs will be attractive to pension funds, large insurance companies and other entities which have longer-term liabilities that are seeking to generate long-term returns within a regulated fund structure. They also represent an investment opportunity for affluent retail investors who are willing to “lock up” their investment in the long term. Under Solvency II, insurance undertakings’ investments in ELTIFs will be subject to beneficial capital treatment. Accordingly, investment managers and promoters are showing considerable interest in establishing ELTIFs specifically targeting insurance undertaking investors.

The purpose of this article is to provide an overview of the ELTIF structure and the investment policies, eligible assets, investment restrictions and diversification requirements contained in the ELTIF Regulation.

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