SFDR applicable to AIFM 'light' funds

September 1, 2021

The European Commission has confirmed that fund managers whom are registered managers with the Netherlands Authority for the Financial Markets (Autoriteit Financiële Markten, "AFM") on the basis of the so-called 'light regime' of Section 2:66a of the Dutch Financial Supervision Act (Wet op het financieel toezicht, "FSA") must also comply with the requirements of the Sustainable Finance Disclosure Regulation ("SFDR").

This has various (far-reaching) consequences for, among others, the website of the fund manager and the pre-contractual documentation which has to be provided by the fund manager to potential investors. We outline these consequences below.

Website

The fund manager's website must contain the following information:

  1. Information on whether sustainability risks are taken into account in investment decisions; if these risks are taken into account, a statement must be included regarding the due diligence policy that is utilized in relation to the sustainability risks. If sustainability risks are not taken into account in investment decisions a reasoned statement must be included why these risks have been excluded and whether there are anticipated changes in regard to including these risks in investment decisions in the future;
  2. Information regarding the manager's remuneration policy, clearly showing in what ways that policy is congruent with the integration of sustainability risks;
  3. Information regarding the classification of different funds under the SFDR, including funds in which sustainability risks are deemed to not be of a material nature to the fund (so-called article 6 funds) and other funds which do take these risks into account. The SFDR classifies funds that take such risks into account as either a fund which promotes social and environmental labels (so-called article 8 funds) or a fund which has as an objective to make sustainable investments (so-called article 9 funds);
  4. for each fund that has sustainable investments as its objective or which promotes sustainable characteristics there must be periodic reports on the website explaining how the sustainable objectives or characteristics have been met.

Pre-contractual documents

With regard to the pre-contractual documentation, the following conditions will generally apply. The documentation must clearly state whether and how sustainability risks are integrated into investment decisions. In addition, insight must be provided into the results of the assessment of the likely effects of sustainability risks on the return of the funds managed by the respective manager. If sustainability risks are not taken into account, a brief and clear explanation must be given in the pre-contractual information.

With regard to individual funds, information on the relevant sustainability risks, objectives and characteristics for individual funds must be included in the pre-contractual documents. What information is required will therefore depend on the type of fund and the underlying investments of the fund.

Recently, the European Commission has announced that the implementation of the technical standards under the SFDR shall enter into force on 1 July 2022. As this means that all (13) technical standards will enter into force at the same time, this will be a considerable challenge for parties who are not adequately prepared.

Further technical requirements are elaborated in the SFDR and underlying legislation. Should you have any questions regarding this newsletter or if you wish to receive further advice, the specialists at Meijburg Legal will be happy to assist you. Please feel free to contact Matthijs Bolkenstein (+31 6 466 30 866) and Floris-René van Strien (+31 6 15 00 83 94).

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