Alternative Investment Management Association
16 January 2007
London, 16 January 2007: The Alternative Investment Management Association (AIMA), the leading global hedge fund and alternative investment industry association has responded to the proposed revision of Statement of Practice (SP1/01), which includes changes to the UK’s Investment Manager Exemption (IME).
The IME plays a crucial role in the industry as it enables offshore hedge funds, managed from the UK, to be largely exempt from UK taxation allowing them to be globally competitive. Without this exemption, hedge fund managers may not be able to compete and may decide to relocate.
A key concern of investment managers is the certainty that they meet the IME standards. Uncertainty will have significant implications on the industry and we have asked HMRC that the current certainty present in SP1/01 is maintained after the revision.
AIMA has also proposed that the scope of ‘investment transaction’ is broadened as widely as possible and should include asset classes (e.g., carbon emission credits) that are not specifically excluded by legislation. In addition, the risk that the IME could be withdrawn for a whole fund if it carried out a single transaction that falls outside the definition of an investment transaction, is seen as disproportionate and unreasonable.
Currently the customary remuneration test is a test of gross fees received by UK investment managers, and given that there is no legislative basis for HMRC proposal of moving this to a net basis, AIMA has argued that the status quo should remain.
AIMA has also argued that the proposed removal of the existing ‘safe harbours’ for passing the independence test would be a retrograde step, rather than giving the certainty that fund managers need.
AIMA has proposed that any new Statement of Practice should not apply to existing funds for at least 12 months to allow investment managers to adjust to its requirements.
Commenting on AIMA’s submission the HMRC, Neil Oliver, Chairman of AIMA’s Tax Committee said, “We have been in discussion with HMRC for some time and generally welcome their positive view of the hedge fund industry and the changes to make SP1/01 more relevant to the way hedge funds now operate. However, there are a number of proposals in the draft Statement of Practice that give us concern and create a degree of uncertainty that has serious implications for the industry in the UK.
The reality is that, while fund managers may like to live in London, they could work as effectively from other locations in Europe. Managers have left the UK, citing withholding tax as being a factor in their decision.
There is a real danger that this could quickly escalate into a significant loss of business for the UK as others follow suit and that providers of services such as prime brokers correspondingly reduce their UK operations.
We hope that our points and arguments are constructive and helpful to HMRC and that they will be adopted as part of their thinking. That way we can be assured that fund managers will continue to benefit from the certainty that they need.”
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For further information, please contact Eoin Brophy, Hume Brophy Communications on +44 (0)20 7499 8736 or Neil Oliver, +44 (0)20 7951 1198.
1. About AIMA
As the only truly representative global hedge fund association, AIMA, the Alternative Investment Management Association, has over 1,100 corporate members worldwide, based in 47 countries.
Members include leading hedge fund managers, fund of hedge funds managers, prime brokers, legal and accounting services and fund administrators. They all benefit from AIMA’s active influence in policy development, its leadership in industry initiatives, including education and sound practice manuals and its excellent reputation with regulators, worldwide.
AIMA is a dynamic organisation that reflects its membership’s interests and provides them with a vibrant global network.
AIMA is committed to developing industry skills and education standards and is a co-founder of the Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst designation (CAIA) – the industry’s first and only specialised educational standard for alternative investment specialists. For further information, please visit AIMA’s website www.aima.org