UCITS is the acronym for Undertakings for Collective Investment in Transferable Securities. The term refers back to EU Directive 85/611/EC of 20 December 1985, the objective of which was to create the legal framework for a single European market for retail investment funds, while at the same time ensuring a high level of investor protection.
Luxembourg, as the first country to implement the UCITS Directive and to offer a European passport, attracted a large number of promoters of Swiss and American origin who continue to use Luxembourg as a gateway to the European market.
Key Advantages for Investment Managers/ Advisors
The European passport allows an approved UCITS to be sold to all types of investors and registered for distribution in all EU Member States. The UCITS is no longer obliged to follow an authorisation process in each market, but just by notification process, which considerably accelerated the process of distributing and marketing a fund and reduced related costs.
Type of Strategies
The Directive exclusively targets funds that invest in securities (such as shares and bonds) quoted on a recognized stock exchange. The following investment strategies or funds types can be implemented with respect to UCITS regulations:
- Long Only Funds
- Money Market Funds
- Long/Short Equity
- Index Tracking Funds
- Fund of Funds
- Specific Commodity Trading Funds
Key Advantages for Investors
UCITS funds must be open ended, so that the investor can redeem his holdings at each net asset value calculation date. UCITS funds will often have weekly and even daily liquidity.
UCITS funds are required to report comprehensively and adequately to investors on their portfolio holding. UCITS funds must have a Key Investor Information Document (KIID) describing the investment fund’s main purpose, the investment policy, and the historical track record including associated costs as well as investment risk warnings.
UCITS funds provide investors with a detailed risk management framework, which is designed to ensure a minimum level of diversification, and limit exposure to third parties and leverage. Every UCITS fund is required to employ adequate risk management processes to measure and monitor risk. It should consistently report to its regulator on the different underlying risks and quantitative limits.