Authorised Open-ended Investment Schemes
Under the Protection of Investors (Bailiwick of Guernsey) Law, 2020 ("the POI Law") open-ended schemes are declared as authorised or registered under Section 8 of the POI Law.
Rules which apply to the method of operation of authorised open-ended collective investment schemes:
- The Collective Investment Schemes (Class A) Rules 2002*;
- The Authorised Collective Investment Schemes (Class A) Rules 2008*;
- The Authorised Collective Investment Schemes (Class B) Rules and Guidance, 2021 ("the Class B Rules");
- The Collective Investment Schemes (Qualifying Professional Investors Funds) (Class Q) Rules and Guidance, 2021 ("the Class Q Rules").
*Applicants considering applying for a Class A Scheme must contact Authorisations before formalising an application. Class A Schemes have been largely superseded by the AIFMD regime. Please see the investment supervision section of our website.
The term 'Scheme' in investment regulatory laws, rules, and regulations has similar meaning to the term 'Fund'. To illustrate the same, a mutual fund and a collective investment scheme have similar attributes.
Specific criteria and principles
The following information is in addition to the guidance found at New Applicants.
Three-stage application process
Unless applications can be classed as Qualifying Investor Funds or Registered Collective Investment Schemes, there is a three-stage process which applies to all classes of open-ended investment schemes.
- Stage One: Outline authorisation, following a review of Form GFA;
- Stage Two: Interim authorisation, following a review of Form APB or APQ;
- Stage Three: Formal authorisation, once all issues have been resolved and final documentation has been received.
Incorporated Cell Companies (“ICCs”) and Protected Cell Companies (“PCCs”)
Funds to be established as an ICC or a PCC require our separate formal consent in order that the vehicle can be registered with the Guernsey Registry. Once we have issued outline authorisation, the applicant may request our consent to establish the ICC or PCC.
Every Guernsey authorised open-ended investment scheme must appoint a designated administrator/manager to conduct the day-to-day administration of the fund, and a designated custodian/trustee to undertake custodial duties and perform oversight of the designated administrator/manager. Both of these designated persons must be established in Guernsey and licensed under the POI Law.
Designated persons are normally selected from firms with established track records in the field. Where an applicant seeks to appoint a newly licensed entity, the proposal to appoint must be discussed with Authorisations in advance of a formal application being submitted.
Applicants must engage the prospective designated persons at an early stage in the application process, as those parties are required to countersign the application forms: this is to signify their support of the application, and also demonstrate to the Commission that all parties are fully aware of the disclosures contained within the prospectus.
Where Promoters and their principals are not known to the Commission but are to be associated with the scheme, additional documentation will need to be submitted, as specified in the New Promoter’s Introductory Checklist.
If the promoter is already known to the Commission, or has received a positive response after submitting a New Promoter's Introductory Checklist, the amount of documentary information required by Form GFA (and the time taken for it to be processed) should be considerably reduced.
Scheme particulars or equivalent offer document: this document must evidence:
- An adequate spread of risk;
- Comprehensive risk warnings;
- That the investor profile is consistent with the fund’s objectives and minimum subscription levels;
- That all material facts, including fees and the names of associated parties, are fully disclosed in the scheme's particulars.
The above is indicative and, therefore, not an exhaustive list. Other criteria may need consideration.
Fund application pack
Application form and supporting documentation: Scan the fully completed application form signed and dated by the relevant officers of the applicant and supporting documentation, as itemised in the application form, together with an explanatory covering letter scheduling the contents and send electronically to [email protected] .
Stage One: Form GFA;
Stage Two: Form APB or APQ;
Stage Three: Final documents as requested by Authorisations.
The non-refundable application fee must be submitted at Stage Two.
Stage One - Outline Authorisation
Outline application form
A fully completed, signed, and dated Form GFA together with the supporting documentation required by the form. Submission is usually made by the designated manager, fund manager, or legal adviser acting for the applicant.
Plans should be well advanced prior to the application's submission. Any provisional matters should be clearly stated. Late changes may result in the application being delayed or, in extreme cases, refused.
No prospectus (scheme particulars, or equivalent offer document) should be submitted at Stage One; these will not be reviewed by us.
No application fee is to be submitted at Stage One.
If all parties meet the policy of selectivity and the detailed proposals appear acceptable, the fund will receive a letter granting outline authorisation. If outline authorisation cannot be granted, a letter requesting further information and/or clarification will be sent.
Stage Two - Interim Authorisation
A fully completed, signed, and dated Form APB or APQ. Both forms include disclosure checklists which adhere to the requirements of the scheme's rules. The applicant must state how each requirement of the disclosure checklist has been satisfied: this is done by identifying the page number of the prospectus upon which a relevant disclosure may be found. If the documents do not adequately satisfy a stated requirement, we will seek clarification and expansion. This will delay the assessment process.
If material changes have been made to the proposals since the completion of Form GFA, these must be clearly stated when the application form is submitted. Such changes may result in the application being delayed.
A near-final draft of the prospectus (or equivalent offer document) must be submitted. Multiple re-drafts are indicative of insufficient preparation by the applicant in advance of submission and will delay the assessment process. If amendment is necessary, the revised prospectus must be black-lined with reference to the previous copy submitted to us. Revised drafts which are not black-lined will not be reviewed.
Investor application form
A copy of any application form that the fund will employ.
Derogations or modifications
The onus is on the applicant to identify whether there is a need to apply for derogations from, or modifications of, the rules. Detailed requests are to be made at this stage explaining the necessity and demonstrating how investor protection will be maintained.
The fee is non-refundable and is payable at this stage.
If all the proposals appear acceptable, the fund will receive a letter granting Interim Authorisation. If Interim Authorisation cannot be granted, a letter requesting further information and/or clarification will be sent.
Stage Three – Formal Authorisation
Clarification and submission of:
All points raised in the Outline and/or Interim letters must be resolved to the satisfaction of the Commission before Formal Authorisation will be considered.
Late changes to the scheme (for example, the introduction of new parties) will cause proportionate delays to any Formal Authorisation and may, in extreme cases, result in Formal Authorisation being refused.
Evidence that the scheme has been formed, e.g. a certificate of establishment or incorporation.
Receipt of dated and signed, or certified copies of all final documents:
Which may include:
- Trust Deed;
- Memorandum and Articles of Incorporation;
- Management Agreement;
- Custodian Agreement;
- Administration Agreement;
- Investment Advisory Agreement;
- Registrar's Agreement;
- Sub-Custodian Agreement;
- Delegation Agreement.
Class B Schemes: receipt of a certificate from the Manager or an approved law firm certifying the information scheduled in the Class B Rules.
Class Q Schemes: receipt of a letter from the Manager certifying the information scheduled in the Class Q Rules.
If all of the proposals appear acceptable, the application will be referred to a decision-maker.
We aim to respond as follows:
Stage One: issue Outline Authorisation within 28 business days of receipt;
Stage Two: issue Interim Authorisation within 10 business days of receipt;
Stage Three: issue Formal Authorisation within 7 business days of receipt.
The timeframes are indicative only; we are not in any way be bound by them.
Successful applicants will be issued with authorisation in the form of a letter.
Conditions and derogations
Any formal conditions which are to be imposed upon the authorisation of open-ended investment schemes, along with any derogations from, or modifications of, the rules will be incorporated into the final authorisation letter.
Upon authorisation, the annual fee becomes due. This is reduced pro rata in the first year, and an invoice will be sent with the authorisation letter.
The designated administrator/manager is normally deemed to be responsible for the payment of all fees.