Tag:Germany

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Europe: ESMA publishes Guidelines on fund names using ESG or sustainability-related terms
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Europe: Agreement on EU ESG Ratings Regulation
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Europe: BaFin Clarifies the German Approach to the ELTIF 2.0 Regime
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EUROPE: UK’s Overseas Funds Regime Moves a Step Closer with Confirmation that Most EEA UCITS Will Be Deemed Equivalent
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Europe: ESMA Publishes Long-Awaited Final Report on ELTIF 2.0 Regulatory Technical Standards
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EUROPE: New Screening Criteria for the EU Taxonomy’s Environmental Objectives
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Europe: Commission Launches SFDR Consultations
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Europe: Proposed German Legislation Will Support Investments in Renewable Energy Facilities
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Europe: Gains From Crypto Trading Are Taxable, German Court Decides
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Europe: AIFMD II – Proposed Refinements to Loan Originating Fund Proposals

Europe: ESMA publishes Guidelines on fund names using ESG or sustainability-related terms

By: Áine Ní Riain, Dr Philipp Riedl, and Ruth Hennessy.

The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) has published its much anticipated Final Report: Guidelines on funds’ names using ESG or sustainability-related terms (Guidelines).

This follows a consultation on the subject between November 2022 and February 2023 and an update provided by ESMA last December.

Acknowledging the significant impact of fund names on investor decision-making, ESMA has determined that a fund with ESG- or sustainability-related terms in its name must apply at least 80% of its investments to meet environmental or social characteristics or sustainable investment objectives.

The Guidelines also apply exclusion criteria for certain terms in fund names:

  • “Environmental”, “impact” and “sustainability”- related terms will require compliance with the exclusions applicable to Paris-aligned Benchmarks; and
  • “Transition, “social” and “governance”- related terms will necessitate compliance with the exclusions applicable to Climate Transition Benchmarks.

Use of “sustainability”-related terms in fund names will require a commitment to “invest meaningfully” in sustainable investments. Similar use of “transition” or “impact” – related terms will require that the relevant fund’s investments used to meet the 80% threshold are on a clear and measurable path to transition or are made with the objective to generate a positive, measurable impact alongside a financial return.

The Guidelines will apply to all EU UCITS and EU AIFs, and it currently seems likely that they will also apply to non-EU funds marketed into the EU (this is a point on which we will be watching developments closely).

The Guidelines are expected to come into force in Q3 or Q4 2024, subject to completion of administrative formalities including a decision by national competent authorities on whether to apply them locally (which is generally expected). Existing funds will have an additional 3-month transition period before compliance becomes mandatory.

Europe: Agreement on EU ESG Ratings Regulation

By: Hilger von Livonius and Philipp Riedl

On 5 February 2024, the EU Council and the EU Parliament agreed on a provisional text for the ESG Ratings Regulation (the Regulation).

Under the Regulation, in-scope EU providers of ESG ratings will require a licence from, and be supervised by, European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA).

In-scope ESG ratings will provide an opinion on a company’s or a financial instrument’s sustainability profile, by assessing its exposure to sustainability risk and its impact on society and the environment.

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Europe: BaFin Clarifies the German Approach to the ELTIF 2.0 Regime

By: Hilger von Livonius and Philipp Riedl

As anticipated in our earlier blog on ELTIF 2.0, Regulation (EU) 2023/606 amending the Regulation on European long-term investment funds (ELTIF Regulation) has been in force since 10 January 2024. There is a lot of hope in the German market that the revised ELTIF regime will finally help this product to achieve a breakthrough.

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EUROPE: UK’s Overseas Funds Regime Moves a Step Closer with Confirmation that Most EEA UCITS Will Be Deemed Equivalent

By: Shane Geraghty, Aoife Maguire, Andrew Massey, Philip Morgan, and Courtney Hunter

The UK’s overseas funds regime has been in development for several years and is finally close to becoming a reality. It will create a more streamlined method by which non-UK funds given “equivalence” status may be marketed to UK retail investors.

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Europe: ESMA Publishes Long-Awaited Final Report on ELTIF 2.0 Regulatory Technical Standards

By: Gayle Bowen and Shane Geraghty

On 19 December, the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) published its final report setting out draft Regulatory Technical Standards under the amended European Long-Term Investment Funds Regulation.

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EUROPE: New Screening Criteria for the EU Taxonomy’s Environmental Objectives

By: Áine Ní Riain and Gayle Bowen

Following their adoption and publication in draft form by the European Commission last June, two new EU Taxonomy delegated acts were published in the Official Journal on 21 November, and will apply from January 2024. They confirm new and amended technical screening criteria (TSCs) in relation to the environmental objectives in the Taxonomy Regulation.  This is a significant build-out in the application of the Taxonomy Regulation given that for an economic activity to be taxonomy-aligned, it must:

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Europe: Commission Launches SFDR Consultations

By: Gayle Bowen and Áine Ní Riain

On 14 September, the European Commission launched both a public consultation and a targeted consultation on the implementation of the Sustainable Finance Disclosure Regulation (SFDR).

The Commission aims to understand how the SFDR has been implemented since its initial application in March 2021, as well as to gain an understanding of its potential deficiencies, and to explore potential improvements of the European framework for sustainable finance. These consultations form part of the Commission’s comprehensive assessment of the SFDR framework that was first announced by Commissioner Mairéad McGuinness in December 2022. While the public consultation is addressed to a wide range of individuals and organisations with a general knowledge of the SFDR, the targeted consultation is aimed at financial market participants (FMPs), investors, NGOs, public authorities, regulators, and others that are either subject to the provisions of the SFDR or otherwise have an in-depth knowledge or experience in the area of sustainable finance disclosures.

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Europe: Proposed German Legislation Will Support Investments in Renewable Energy Facilities

By Hilger von Livonius

On 12 April 2023, the German Ministry of Justice (Bundesministerium der Justiz) published a legislative proposal which would broaden the eligible assets for German open-ended real estate funds to include certain renewable energy assets. The proposal mentions both facilities for the generation, transport and storage of electricity, gas or heat from renewable energy sources, and charging stations for electric vehicles and bikes. The proposed rules would, for the first time, allow investment in facilities which are on open land  and not directly connected with a building held by the fund. The new rules may also have an impact on non-German real estate funds available to certain German investors.  For example, German pension schemes may require that non-German real estate funds share certain features with similar German funds.

Europe: Gains From Crypto Trading Are Taxable, German Court Decides

By Hilger von Livonius

In a recent decision of 14 February 2023, the Federal Fiscal Court (Bundesfinanzhof, BFH), the highest German tax court, has ruled that privately held cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH) and Monero (XMR) are – notwithstanding the fact that there are no physical goods in which a traditional form of legal ownership can be established – taxable assets for German income tax purposes. As a consequence, any gains from their acquisition (against fiat currency or otherwise) and sale (or exchange) within a one-year period will be taxable (at the owner’s personal tax rate); if, however, the relevant cryptocurrency has been held for more than one year, any gains will be tax exempt. For these purposes, the holder of the “private key” will be considered as legal owner of the cryptocurrency. The tax treatment of a realization of an increase in value of cryptocurrencies is therefore, in Germany, substantially the same as for fiat currency.

Europe: AIFMD II – Proposed Refinements to Loan Originating Fund Proposals

By: Philipp Riedl

On 18 May 2022, the Rapporteur submitted to the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs (ECON) a report suggesting changes to the EU Commission’s envisaged regulation of loan originating funds under its proposed AIFMD amendments (AIFMD II).  The report includes some proposed relief, notably:

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