TITLE: French Banking Law // VOLCKER Rule Analysis
Guidelines for the reading of the selected funds.
Weekly analysis of the 14 August 2021: LAZARD GLOBAL INVESTMENT FUNDS PLC – LAZARD RATHMORE ALTERNATIVE FUND BP ACC EUR HEDGED
The analysis will be made thanks to EURONEXT FUNDS360. This fund has been selected for its orientation in the international market and its performance.
1) Overall performance on the 11/08/2021:
Historical performance of the fund: +15,70% since the beginning of the year, +19,35% over the last year.
The purpose of this analysis is to determine if this fund shall be or not considered as a leveraged UCI (undertakings for collective investments).
If a fund is considered as a leveraged UCI, an eligible guarantee must be established by the banking entity for any transaction.
2) Fund overview:
Type of UCI: UCITS
“ Lazard Global Investment FundsPublic Limited Company
(An open-ended investment company with variable capitalstructured as an umbrella fund with segregated liability between Funds incorporated with limited liability in Ireland under registration number 467074)”
Legal form: Irish OEIC (open-ended investment company)
COMPARTMENT: YES / LAZARD RATHMORE ALTERNATIVE FUND BP ACC EUR HEDGED
Type of investment policy:
“Lazard Rathmore Alternative Fund is a hedged convertibles portfolio, best described as convertible arbitrage, where typically a long convertible bond position is hedged with a short stock position in the same company.”
This fund is an alternative Fund, focused on hedged convetibles portfolio.
APPLICABLE LAW: Ireland
Profile of investors:
This fund is open to both retail and institutional investors.
Level of investment in other UCIs:
“A Fund may not invest in a UCITS or other CIS which is not itself prohibited from investing more than 10% of its Net Asset Value in other open-ended CIS.”
This fund shall not invest more than 40% in any leveraged UCI (10%).
“The Fund’s global exposure measured on a commitment approach basis shall not exceed 200% of the Fund’s Net Asset Value. ”
The total fund exposure is regulated by the UCITS Regulation. Therefore, the global exposure of the SICAV shall not exceed 300% of the net asset value.
Asset Manager : Lazard Fund Managers (Ireland) Ltd
To be considered as a leveraged UCI, a fund shall:
- Have a global exposure of more than 3 times the NAV
- Invest in more than 40% in others leveraged UCI
Regarding the investment policy and the characteristics described, this fund shall not be considered as a leveraged UCI.
Therefore, global exposure shall not be above 300% of the total assets.
Therefore, any financial institution that would make an operation with this fund shall not need to set an eligible guarantee.
4) Volcker Rule Analysis
4.1) Introduction to the Volcker Rule
“Section 13 of the Bank Holding Company Act of 1956, as amended (the “Volcker Rule”), introduced in the Dodd-Frank Act, 3 generally “prohibits any banking entity from engaging in proprietary trading or from acquiring or retaining an ownership interest in, sponsoring or having certain relationships with a hedge fund or private equity fund, subject to certain exemptions”
The Volcker rule targets a covered fund, which includes an issuer that would be an investment company, but for the exclusions contained in Section 3(c)(1) or Section 3(c)(7) of the Investment Company Act of 1940, as amended (the “1940 Act”).
Description of section 3©(1) and 3©(7) of the US investment company act of 1940 :
After the description of the Volcker Rule, let’s determine if the fund LAZARD GLOBAL INVESTMENT FUNDS PLC – LAZARD RATHMORE ALTERNATIVE FUND BP ACC EUR HEDGED shall be considered as a covered fund or not.
4.2) Exclusions of Volcker Rule
To determine if a fund is a covered fund, let’s look about the exclusions of the law:
- Foreign public funds
- Wholly-owned subsidiaries
- Joint ventures
- Acquisition vehicles
- Securitization related vehicles
- Funds regulated under the 1940 Act
- Other excluded entities
In addition, permitted activities and market-making are allowed:
“The prohibition against proprietary trading does not apply to permitted underwriting activities and market making-related activities. (…) To engage in either permitted activity, a banking entity must comply with three overall conditions:
- the banking entity must maintain an internal compliance program required by Subpart D (and discussed below) to ensure that the banking entity complies with the conditions permitting the activity;
- the compensation arrangements of people involved in these activities must not be designed to reward or incentivize prohibited proprietary trading; and
- the banking entity must be licensed or registered to engage in the permitted activity.
In addition, the following specific conditions apply.
- Underwriting: “Underwriting activities are permitted only if the trading desk’s underwriting position is related to a “distribution” of securities for which the banking entity is acting as underwriter.”
- Market-making: “Market making-related activities are permitted only if the relevant trading desk routinely stands ready to purchase and sell one or more types of financial instruments related to its financial exposure and is willing and available to quote, purchase or sell those types of financial instruments for its own account in commercially reasonable amounts and throughout market cycles on a basis appropriate for the liquidity, maturity and depth of the market for the relevant types of financial instruments”
- Permitted risk-mitigating hedging activities: “The prohibition on proprietary trading does not apply to certain risk-mitigating hedging activities.”
The Volcker 2.0 “(…) add four new exclusions to the definition of “covered fund” — credit funds, venture capital funds, family wealth management vehicles and customer facilitation vehicles — thereby exempting them from the scope of the Volcker Rule.”
4.3) Volcker Rule analysis
Before checking any exclusion or exemption, we must determine is the fund can be sold or not to any U.S. person: “The Shares have not been, and will not be, registered under the 1933 Act (see « Definitions ») or the securities laws of any of the states of the United States and the Shares may not be offered or sold directly or indirectly in the United States or to or for the account or benefit of any US Person(see
« Definitions »), except pursuant to an exemption from, or in a transaction not subject to the regulatory requirements of, the 1933 Act and any applicable state securities laws.”
As mentioned above, the fund is open to retail investors.
Based on the extract from the prospectus, we can determine that:
– The fund is a Non-US issuer
– It is sold outside of the US
– the subscription is not permitted for US investors
– the fund be authorized to offer and sell ownership interests, and such interests be offered and sold, through one or more public offerings (See Type of Eligible investors).
We could conclude that this fund shall not be considered as a Covered Fund as described in the 1940 Investment Company Act.
While other exclusions may apply, LAZARD GLOBAL INVESTMENT FUNDS PLC – LAZARD RATHMORE ALTERNATIVE FUND BP ACC EUR HEDGED shall not be considered as a Covered Fund, relying on the exclusion from the Investment Company Act of 1940: Foreign Public Fund.
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