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Easier visas demanded for cross-border funds

European fund chiefs are demanding simpler registration procedures for funds which are marketed across borders.

The IMA and the European Fund and Asset Management Association claim that fund firms still face significant barriers to cross-border sales.

In a report entitled A Harm- onised, Simplified Approach to Ucits Regulation, the two groups argue that while funds have had a passport to mar- ket throughout Europe since 1985, burdensome visa requirements, which are different in each member state, have developed over the years.

They say these requirements provide a significant barrier to a single European market, limiting choice and add- ing to costs for investors.

The Committee for European Securities Regulators has said it intends to streamline fund registration requirements but the IMA and EFAMA want regulators to go further.

They are calling on the CESR to allow funds to be marketed in member states within a month of applications being filed. They want to limit translation requirements and streamline fee structures to reduce the costs of adhering to the different rules.

They are also asking regulators not to require information to be filed again where it is already available to them.

The direct costs of adherence are estimated at £17m a year, on top of registration costs of £13.6m a year, with the report concluding that the end benefit to investors is limited.

EFAMA secretary general Steffen Matthias says: “So much can be done to remove the barriers to cross-border business if the regulators show goodwill and cooperation and operate within the spirit of the directive.

“It is an excellent opportunity for the CESR to show what can be done to create a level playing field across the investment fund business.”

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