Legal advice for Irish investment funds
Ireland has become a popular location for investment funds. With a skilled workforce, political stability and a variety of legal structures, the country is a major and growing centre for internationally distributed funds.
Maples and Calder are highly experienced in launching and establishing investment funds in Ireland. With a full understanding of the legislation and regulations surrounding Irish funds, we can offer specialist legal advice on setting up investment funds in the country.
UCITS or non-UCITS
Irish funds are split into two main categories, UCITS and non-UCITS funds. UCITS is an EU investment fund vehicle designed primarily for retail investors and is therefore quite constrained in terms of investment flexibility. Meanwhile, non-UCITS funds include retail schemes, professional investment funds and qualifying investment funds. Of these, the qualifying investor fund (QIF) is the most widely used. This is a fund regime designed for sophisticated and institution investors. Accordingly, investment constraints do not apply.
There are various fund structures, each of which is subject to different legislative provisions. These include:
- Unit Trusts - a structure created by a written contract between a manager and trustee. The unit trust is not a separate legal entity. The manager runs the trust and enters into contracts related to management and administration, while the trustee holds the assets and enters into contracts related to asset safekeeping.
- Corporate Funds - structured as a variable capital investment company, meaning that it must be incorporated as a public limited company. These have a separate legal existence and are therefore able to enter into contracts. A board of directors looks after the management, while shareholders have ultimate control over certain matters relating to the fund.
- Investment Limited Partnerships - a partnership between a general partner and one or more limited partners, where the funds are invested in all types of property. Limited partners act as the shareholders, while the general partner is responsible for managing the fund.
- Common Contractual Funds - an unincorporated body rather than a separate legal entity, this is a contractual arrangement where investors participate and share in the property as co-owners of the fund.
Along with the various legal structures, the clear and efficient taxation of Irish funds is another key factor that has resulted in its success. Irish funds aren't subject to taxation on income or gains, while Ireland also has many double tax treaties with other countries, with new agreements being negotiated all the time.
Setting up Irish funds
Through the legal structures, tax framework and other factors such as the Irish Stock Exchange and government support, Ireland has become a leading location for investment funds. When launching a fund in the country, it can be important to seek specialist advice from a law firm with expertise in this field. By investing in a professional financial service, you can be assured that the investment fund is compliant with regulations and legislation, while the strategy and operations are well-structured.