Professional guides

Practically oriented, and partly reserved to our members, the AFG’s professionnal guides provide an array of tools for Asset Management practitioners.

 

  • In order to enhance the attractiveness and competitiveness of the Paris financial centre, the French legislator created a new financing vehicle under the AIFM Directive, the “Specialised financing vehicle” (Organisme de financement spécialisé – OFS).
  • In order to familiarise AFG members with this new legal vehicle, the OFS, the French asset management association (Association Française de la Gestion financière – AFG) published a practical guide, with the assistance of Kramer Levin LLP and the members of the AFG’s Debt Fund and Securitisation Commission.
  • The OFS is a vehicle under French law that can make investments in France and abroad and be subscribed to by French and foreign investors under optimal legal and tax conditions.
  • The OFS may invest in a wide range of assets (loans, receivables, plain vanilla debt securities or debt securities giving access to the issuer’s capital, equity securities, property) and finance itself from a broad base of European investors, including private (retail) investors.
  • Its functionalities make it a safe, flexible and tax-efficient vehicle, well ahead of competing European vehicles.
  • The OFS is a vehicle that allows all investments of a vehicle wishing to use the ELTIF Label to be made under French law.

 

  • Asset management companies must currently wade through a wide array of extra-financial information which is neither standardised, comparable, stable over time nor audited. Therefore, amid the increasing volume of company-reported ESG data, a reference list of extra-financial indicators is urgently needed. The objective is twofold: determining which extra-financial information is needed to assess a company, to avoid getting bogged down in an “information overload”; and forging a dialogue with companies, to build a reporting framework complying with regulatory requirements.
  • AFG set a goal to identify a maximum of 10 cross-sector indicators for each of the following pillars: Environment, Social / Human capital, Societal and Governance, that could be use to assess companies of all sizes.
  • A maximum of 10 essential extra- financial indicators were defined for each pillar to help asset management companies make consistent company assessments (list of “essential indicators”). Secondly, other themes in which investors need transparency were then also identified, to be used to open up a dialogue with companies (list of “transparency indicators”).
  • Finally, AFG identified areas to be addressed jointly by companies and investors.

 

  • Guide to developing a coal strategy for asset management companies – March 2020
    • In line with the collective commitment made by the financial industry on 2 July 2019 at the Ministry for the Economy and Finance, AFG is encouraging asset management companies to adopt a “coal strategy”.
    • To assist them, this guide identifies best practices for reducing the exposure of investments to coal in order to contribute to the objective of the national carbon neutrality strategy: to stop financing the coal industry.
    • AFG recommends that asset management companies consider the maximum risk they are willing to take, i.e. assess the risks for the assets in the portfolio and define their overall strategy with respect to exposure to coal.

 

  • Liquidity risk management is a major concern for asset managers, particularly in the context of open-ended funds, in terms of ensuring the liquidity disclosed to investors in accordance with the fundamental principles of equal treatment of investors and market integrity.

1. Swing pricing and anti dilution levies (ADLs)
2. Notice period
3. Redemption gates
4. In-kind redemptions
5. Side pockets
6. Suspension

  • The French asset management industry offers a wide range of investment management solutions, enabling it to meet different investment objectives for different investors.
  • Some collective investment schemes (CIS) offered in France have fee structures that include performance fees. These structures aim to ensure better alignment between the interests of investors and asset management companies, with a view to outperforming a predefined index or exceeding a predefined threshold.
  • This guide reiterates how important it is for the methods used to calculate performance fees to comply with the principles set out by IOSCO in 2016. Performance fees levied by open-ended collective investment schemes must reflect as accurately as possible the returns generated by management and seek not to put investors at a disadvantage when returns are distributed.

 

Following the public consultation on ETFs, which ended in May 2017, the French financial regulator (AMF) asked French management companies who managed ETFs to produce a continuity plan in the event of default of a counterparty of the ETF.
The purpose of this note is to propose a continuity plan in relation to management of ETFs, when the fund uses OTC financial derivative instruments or securities lending, each management company being responsible for putting its own continuity plan in place.

AFG Guide on certain aspects of risk monitoring and valuation control relating to the investment of French funds in CoCos – May 2018

Following the AMF’s update to its policy on CoCos on 20 June 2017, the AFG has put together a package of good market practices relating to the monitoring of these instruments by risk management teams. Specifically, the AFG has considered the valuation issues arising in relation to implementation of the AMF policy referred to above.

The topic of liquidity has over the recent years been a major concern for global regulators. European regulations, in particular the AIFM Directive, place liquidity risk management, in normal and stressed situations, at the heart of the risk management process of management
companies.
The objective of this Code is twofold:
• Adopt in a single document a series of recommendations aimed at all companies which are AFG members. These recommendations reflect a common approach to good practice in line with regulatory requirements;
• Offer practical methodological guidance 

The purpose of this Code is to define and promote standards on the use of Swing Pricing and variable anti dilution levies (ADL).
• Swing Pricing is a mechanism by which the net asset value is adjusted upwards (or downwards) if the change in liabilities is positive (or negative) in such a way as to reduce for existing investors the portfolio restructuring costs linked to subscription/ redemption movements in the fund.
• The variable anti dilution levies (hereafter ADLs) allow adjusting entry and exit charges upwards (or downwards) if the change in fund liabilities is positive (or negative) so as to reduce for existing investors the portfolio restructuring costs linked to subscription/redemption movements in the fund.
These two mechanisms help reinforce fair treatment of investors.
The Code applies to all collective investment schemes – i.e. UCITS and AIFs – for which the management company (AFG member) has decided to implement these mechanisms.

The AFG Code of conduct on the use of stress tests is aimed at AFG members as a tool in helping them to implement the regulatory provisions pertaining to these techniques. It applies to any Collective Investment Scheme (CIS) to which a member asset management company applies stress tests. Each asset management company is responsible for the definition and implementation of its own stress test policy.

A PERCO (plan d’épargne retraite collectif) is a defined-contribution pension savings scheme that allows beneficiaries to build up a lump sum or an annuity, which is locked in until retirement. Exceptionally, entitlements can be paid out early in five cases: acquisition of a main residence, disability, death, debt overload, and expiry of unemployment benefits.
In consequence, the PERCO has a long-term investment horizon.
The operating procedures are set forth in the scheme’s bylaws; they can be company-specific or apply to several companies.
Membership is optional. Employees can pay their profit sharing money or bonuses into the PERCO and also make additional payments on a regular or periodic basis. The company can then top up these payments with matching contributions.
In accordance with the Pension Reform Act adopted on 9 November 2010, at least one-half of profit sharing money must be paid into the scheme by default.

The simplified fund prospectus was replaced by the Key Investor Information Document (KIID) on 1 July 2011. The KIID is a standard two-page document with five sections, including one on the risk and reward profile of the fund. This section contains three subsections: the Synthetic Risk and Reward Indicator (SRRI) denoted on a numerical scale from 1 to 7, a narrative section explaining the risk indicator category and another narrative section dealing with material risks that are not captured by the indicator.
In July 2010, ESMA published guidelines setting out a specific methodology for calculating the SRRI. The standard methodology is based on the volatility of the fund. The historical annualised volatility of total returns is determined on the basis of weekly returns over a five-year period. The fund is then allocated to a risk category using the grid of volatility intervals provided by the 
European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA).