Investment funds move UCITS IV focus to business model alignment and operational efficiency
London, 12 January 2010: The new Undertaking for Collective Investment in Transferable Securities IV Directive (UCITS IV) is not bringing the operational cost reductions many European investment fund asset managers assumed. But they are still finding benefits around business model alignment, finds a new Ernst & Young survey.
In a poll of 98 European investment fund participants, 49% said that business model alignment with UCITS IV is the biggest driver for improving their operating model. This compared to 37% that identified cost efficiency.
Crispin Rolt, Ernst & Young’s UCITS IV leader, comments: “Many fund managers assumed that UCITS IV would offer significant opportunity to reduce operational cost. However, as asset managers look at UCITS IV in more detail, in many cases they realize that the cost reduction opportunity is of a smaller magnitude than initially expected. The focus has turned to using UCITS IV to optimize the operating model and fund ranges, to align better with the business strategy of the organization. The investor will still benefit and by pooling funds it is anticipated that there will be opportunity to reduce some of the expense borne by the fund.”
The realization that cost reduction will not be the biggest driver for UCITS IV was also seen in managers’ responses to what drove their decision to optimize their fund range: 43% identified operational efficiency as their top driver, compared with 29% that said cost reduction and 28% that identified distribution benefits.
Rolt explains: “Operational efficiency is a key feature of UCITS IV, and it will bring benefits to managers through a more scalable fund range. Changes under the Directive will improve distribution opportunities, bringing speedier entry into new markets and that should be the leading driver for managers distributing products cross border. ”
With 18 months before the July 2011 implementation deadline, a fifth of the funds polled have not started work relating to the new UCITS IV. Less than a third have already started work on the path to implementation either by appointing a steering committee or conducting high level analysis.
Rolt concludes: “Fund managers really must set aside time to consider and plan for UCITS IV and realize the opportunities it offers, particularly around operational efficiency and achieving improved business strategies. It is essential that work starts sooner rather than later if asset managers are to gain the competitive edge in 2010 and beyond.”
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