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COBS 18.5 1Operators of collective investment schemes

Application

COBS 18.5.1RRP

1This section applies to a firm which is an operator of a collective investment scheme.

Application or modification of general COBS rules for operators

COBS 18.5.2RRP

An operator when it is carrying on scheme management activity:

  1. (1)

    must comply with the COBS rules specified in the table, as modified by this section; and

  2. (2)

    need not comply with any other rule in COBS.

Table: Application of conduct of business rules

Application of conduct of business rules

Chapter, section or rule

Description

Modifications

1

Application

2.1.1

Acting honestly, fairly and professionally

2.3

Inducements

2.4

Agent as client and reliance on others

4.2.1 - 4.2.3

Fair, clear and not misleading communications

25.1

Distance communications

5.2

E-Commerce

11.2

Best execution

In the case of an unregulated collective investment scheme, COBS 18.5.4R (Modification of best execution) applies instead of COBS 11.2 in the circumstances set out in COBS 18.5.4R.1

11.3

Client order handling

11.5

Record keeping: client orders and decisions to deal

11.6

Use of dealing commission

311.8

Recording telephone conversations and electronic communications

18.5

Operators of collective investment schemes

General modifications

COBS 18.5.3RRP

The COBS rules specified in the table in COBS 18.5.2 R apply to an operator when it is carrying on scheme management activity with the following modifications:

  1. (1)

    subject to (2), references to customer or client are to be construed as references to any scheme in respect of which the operator is acting or intends to act, and with or for the benefit of which the relevant activity is to be carried on;

  2. (2)

    in the case of an unregulated collective investment scheme, when an operator is required by the rules in COBS to provide information to, or obtain consent from, a customer or client, the operator must ensure that the information is provided to, or consent obtained from, a participant or a potential participant in the scheme as the case may be; and

  3. (3)

    references to the service of portfolio management in COBS 11.2 and 11.3 and COBS 11.5 (Record keeping: client orders and transactions) are to be construedas references to the management by an operator of financial instruments held for or within the scheme of which it is the operator.

Modification of best execution for operators of unregulated collective investment schemes

COBS 18.5.4RRP

The best execution provisions applying to an operator of a collective investment scheme do not apply in relation to an unregulated collective investment scheme whose scheme documents include a statement that best execution does not apply in relation to the scheme and in which:

  1. (1)

    no participant is a retail client; or

  2. (2)

    no current participant in the scheme was a retail client on joining the scheme as a participant.

Scheme documents for an unregulated collective investment scheme

COBS 18.5.5RRP

An operator of an unregulated collective investment scheme must not accept a retail client asa participant in the scheme unless it has taken reasonable steps to offer and, if requested, provide to the potential participant scheme documents which adequately describe how the operation of the scheme is governed.

Format and content of scheme documents

COBS 18.5.6GRP

An operator's scheme documents may consist of any number of documents provided that it is clear that collectively they constitute the scheme documents and provided the use of several documents in no way diminishes the significance of any of the statements which are required to be given to the potential participant.

COBS 18.5.7GRP

The scheme documents of an unregulated collective investment scheme (if they exist) should make it clear that if a participant is reclassified as a retail client, this reclassification will not affect certain scheme management activities of the operator of the scheme. In particular, despite such a reclassification, the operator will not be required to comply with the best execution provisions applying to an operator of a collective investment scheme. It should be noted that there is no requirement that scheme documents must be produced for an unregulated collective investment scheme.

COBS 18.5.8RRP

Where the scheme is an unregulated collective investment scheme and no current participant in the scheme was a retail client on joining the scheme as a participant, the scheme documents must include a statement that:

  1. (1)

    explains that if a participant is reclassified as a retail client subsequent to joining the scheme as a participant, then the operator may continue to treat all participants in the scheme as though they were not retail clients;

  2. (2)

    explains that if a participant is reclassified as a retail client subsequent to joining the scheme as a participant, then the modification of best execution (see COBS 18.5.5 R) will continue to apply to that scheme; and

  3. (3)

    explains that, in the event of such a reclassification, the operator will not be required to provide best execution in relation to the scheme.

COBS 18.5.9GRP

The operator will still have to comply with other COBS provisions as a result of the reclassification of a participant as a retail client, for example, the requirement to provide periodic statements to participants who are retail clients in an unregulated collective investment scheme (see the rule on periodic statements for an unregulated collective investment scheme (COBS 18.5.11)).

Adequate information

COBS 18.5.10ERP
  1. (1)

    In order to provide adequate information to describe how the operation of the scheme is governed, an operator of an unregulated collective investment scheme should include in the scheme documents a provision about each of the items of relevant information set out in the following table (Content of scheme documents).

  2. (2)

    Compliance with (1) may be relied on as tending to establish compliance with COBS 18.5.5 R.

  3. (3)

    Contravention of (1) may be relied on as tending to establish contravention of COBS 18.5.5 R.

Table: Content of scheme documents

Content of scheme documents

The scheme documents should include provision about:

(1)

Regulator

The firm statutory status in accordance with GEN 4 Annex 1 R (Statutory status disclosure);

(2)

Services

the nature of the services that the operator will provide in relation to the scheme;

(3)

Payments for services

details of any payment for services payable by the scheme or from the property of the scheme or participants in the scheme to the operator, including where appropriate:

(a)

the basis of calculation;

(b)

how it is to be paid and collected;

(c)

how frequently it is to be paid; and

(d)

whether or not any other payment is receivable by the operator (or to its knowledge by any of its associates) in connection with any transactions effected by the operator with or for the scheme, in addition to or in lieu of any fees;

(4)

Commencement

when and how the operator is appointed;

(5)

Accounting

the arrangements for accounting to the scheme or participants in the scheme for any transaction effected;

(6)

Termination method

how the appointment of the operator may be terminated;

(7)

Complaints procedure

how to complain to the operator and a statement that the participants in the scheme may subsequently complain direct to the Financial Ombudsman Service;

(8)

Compensation

whether or not compensation may be available from the compensation scheme should the operator be unable to meet its liabilities, and information about any other applicable compensation scheme; and, for each applicable scheme, the extent and level of cover and how further information can be obtained;

(9)

Investment objectives

the investment objectives for the portfolio of the scheme;

(10)

Restrictions

(a)

any restrictions on:

(i)

the types of investments or property which may be included in the portfolio of the scheme;

(ii)

the markets on which investments or property may be acquired for the portfolio of the scheme;

(iii)

the amount or value of any one investment or asset, or on the proportion of the portfolio of the scheme which any one investment or asset or any particular kind of investment or asset may constitute; or

(b)

that there are no such restrictions;

(11)

Holding scheme assets

(a)

if it is the case, that the operator will:

(i)

hold money on behalf of the scheme or be the custodian of investments or other property of the scheme; or

(ii)

arrange for some other person to act in either capacity and, if so, whether that person is an associate of the operator identifying that person and describing the nature of any association; and

(b)

in either case:

(i)

how any money is to be deposited;

(ii)

the arrangements for recording and separately identifying registrable investments of the scheme and, where the registered holder is the operator's own nominee, that the operator will be responsible for the acts and omissions of that person;

(iii)

the extent to which the operator accepts liability for any loss of the investment of the scheme;

(iv)

the extent to which the operator or any other person mentioned in (11)(a)(ii), may hold a lien or security interest over investments of the scheme;

(v)

where investments of the scheme will be registered collectively in the same name, a statement that the entitlements of the scheme may not be identifiable by separate certificates or other physical documents of title, and that, should the operator default, any shortfall in investments of the scheme registered in that name may be shared proportionately among all schemes and any other customers of the operator whose investments are so registered;

(vi)

whether or not investments or other property of the scheme can be lent to, or deposited by way of collateral with, a third party and whether or not money can be borrowed on behalf of the scheme against the security of those investments or property and, if so, the terms upon which they may be lent or deposited;

(vii)

the arrangements for accounting to the scheme for investments of the scheme, for income received (including any interest on money and any income earned by lending investments or other property) of the scheme, and for rights conferred in respect of investments or other property of the scheme;

(viii)

the arrangements for determining the exercise of any voting rights conferred by investments of the scheme; and

(ix)

where investments of the scheme may be held by an eligible custodian outside the United Kingdom, a general statement that different settlement, legal and regulatory requirements, and different practices relating to the segregation of those investments, may apply;

(12)

Clients' money outside the United Kingdom

if it is the case, that the operator may hold the money of the scheme in a client bank account outside the United Kingdom;

(13)

Exchange rates

if a liability of the scheme in one currency is to be matched by an asset in a different currency, or if the services to be provided to the operator for the scheme may relate to an investment denominated in a currency other than the currency in which the investments of the scheme are valued, a warning that a movement of exchange rates may have a separate effect, unfavourable or favourable, on the gain or loss otherwise made on the investments of the scheme;

(14)

Stabilised investments

if it is the case, that the operator is to have the right under the scheme documents to effect transactions in investments the prices of which may be the subject of stabilisation;

(15)

Conflict of interest and material interest

if it is the case, that the operator is to have the right under the agreement or instrument constituting the scheme to effect transactions on behalf of the scheme in which the operator has directly or indirectly a material interest (except for an interest arising solely from the participation of the operator as agent for the scheme), or a relationship of any description with another party which may involve a conflict with the operator's duty to the scheme, together with a disclosure of the nature of the interest or relationship;

(16)

Use of dealing commission

if the operator receives goods or services in addition to the execution of its customer orders in accordance with the section on the use of dealing commission, the prior disclosure required by the rule on prior disclosure (see COBS 11.6.2 R);

(17)

Acting as principal

if it is the case, that the operator may act as principal in a transaction with the scheme;

(18)

Stock lending

if it is the case, that the operator may undertake stock lending activity with or for the scheme specifying the type of assets of the scheme to be lent, the type and value of relevant collateral from the borrower and the method and amount of payment due to the scheme in respect of the lending;

(19)

Transactions involving contingent liability investments

(a)

if it is the case, that the agreement or instrument constituting the scheme allows the operator to effect transactions involving contingent liability investments for the account of the portfolio of the scheme;

(b)

if applicable, whether there are any limits on the amount to be committed by way of margin and, if so, what those limits are; and

(c)

if applicable, that the operator has the authority to effect transactions involving contingent liability investments otherwise than under the rules of a recognised investment exchange or designated investment exchange and in a contract traded thereon;

(20)

Periodic statements

(a)

the frequency of any periodic statement (this should not be less than once every 12 months) except where a periodic statement is not required (see COBS 18.5.13R); and

(b)

whether those statements will include some measure of performance, and, if so, what the basis of that measurement will be;

(21)

Valuation

the bases on which assets comprised in the portfolio of the scheme are to be valued;

(22)

Borrowings

if it is the case, that the operator may supplement the funds in the portfolio of the scheme and, if it may do so:

(a)

the circumstances in which the operator may do so;

(b)

whether there are any limits on the extent to which the operator may do so and, if so, what those limits are; and

(c)

any circumstances in which such limits may be exceeded;

(23)

Underwriting commitments

if it is the case, that the operator may for the account of the portfolio of the scheme underwrite or sub-underwrite any issue or offer for sale of securities, and:

(a)

whether there are any restrictions on the categories of securities which may be underwritten and, if so, what these restrictions are; and

(b)

whether there are any financial limits on the extent of the underwriting and, if so, what these limits are;

(24)

Investments in other collective investment schemes

whether or not the portfolio may contain units in a collective investment scheme either operated or advised by the operator or by an associate of the operator or in a collective investment scheme which is not a regulated collective investment scheme;

(25)

Investments in securities underwritten by the operator

whether or not the portfolio may contain securities of which any issue or offer for sale was underwritten, managed or arranged by the operator or by an associate of the operator during the preceding 12 months.

Periodic statements for an unregulated collective investments scheme

COBS 18.5.11RRP

An operator of an unregulated collective investment scheme must, subject to the exceptions from the requirement to provide a periodic statement, provide to participants in the scheme, promptly and at suitable intervals, a statement in a durable medium which contains adequate information on the value and composition of the portfolio of the scheme at the beginning and end of the period of the statement.

Promptness, suitable intervals and adequate information

COBS 18.5.12ERP
  1. (1)

    An operator should act in accordance with the provisions in the right hand column of the periodic statements table (see COBS 18.5.15E) to fulfil the requirement to prepare and issue periodic statements indicated in the left hand column against these provisions.

  2. (2)

    Compliance with (1) may be relied on as tending to establish compliance with the requirement to prepare and issue periodic statements.

  3. (3)

    Contravention of (1) may be relied on as tending to establish contravention of the requirement to prepare and issue periodic statements.

Exceptions from the requirement to provide a periodic statement

COBS 18.5.13RRP
  1. (1)

    An operator of an unregulated collective investment scheme need not provide a periodic statement:

    1. (a)
      1. (i)

        to a participant in the scheme who is a retail client ordinarily resident outside the United Kingdom; or

      2. (ii)

        to a participant in the scheme who is a professional client; if the participant has so requested or the operator has taken reasonable steps to establish that the participant does not wish to receive it; or

    2. (b)

      if it would duplicate a statement to be provided by someone else.

  2. (2)

    For a firm acting as an outgoing ECA provider, the exemption for retail client participants ordinarily resident outside the United Kingdom applies only to a participant in the scheme who is a retail client ordinarily resident outside the EEA.

Record keeping requirements

COBS 18.5.14RRP

An operator of an unregulated collective investment scheme must make a copy of any periodic statement it has provided in accordance with the requirement to prepare and issue periodic statements to participants in the scheme. The record must be retained for a minimum period of three years.

COBS 18.5.15ERP

Table: Periodic statements

This table belongs to COBS 18.5.12 E.

Periodic statements

Suitable intervals

(1)

A periodic statement should be provided at least:

(a)

six-monthly; or

(b)

once in any other period, not exceeding 12 months, which has been mutually agreed between the operator and the participant in the scheme.

Adequate information

(2)

(a)

A periodic statement should contain:

(i)

(A)

The information set out in the table of general contents of a periodic statement;

(B)

where the portfolio of the scheme includes uncovered open positions in contingent liability investments, the additional information in the table listing the contents of a periodic statement (see COBS 18.5.15E) in respect of contingent liability investments; or

(ii)

such information as a participant who is a retail client ordinarily resident outside the United Kingdom, or a professional client, has on his own initiative agreed with the operator as adequate.

(b)

For a firm acting as an outgoing ECA provider, the words 'United Kingdom' is replaced by 'EEA'

COBS 18.5.16GRP

Examples of uncovered open positions include:

  1. (1)

    selling a call option on an investment not held in the portfolio;

  2. (2)

    unsettled sales of call options on currency in amounts greater than the portfolio's holding of that currency in cash or in readily realisable investments denominated in that currency; and

  3. (3)

    transactions having the effect of selling an index to an amount greater than the portfolio's holdings of investments included in that index.

COBS 18.5.17ERP

Table: General contents of a periodic statement

This table belongs to COBS 18.5.15 E.

General contents of periodic statements

1

Contents and value

(a)

As at the beginning of the account period, the total value of the portfolio of the scheme, being either:

(i)

the value of the assets comprised in the portfolio on the date as at which the statement provided for the immediately preceding period of account is made up; or

(ii)

in the case of the first periodic statement, the value of the assets comprised in the portfolio on the date on which the operator assumed responsibility for the management of the portfolio.

(b)

As at the end of the account period:

(i)

the number, description and value of each investment held on behalf of the scheme;

(ii)

the amount of cash held on behalf of the scheme; and

(iii)

the total value of the portfolio of the scheme.

2

Basis of valuation

A statement of the basis on which the value of each investment has been calculated and, if applicable, a statement that the basis for valuing a particular investment has changed since the previous periodic statement. Where any investments are shown in a currency other than the usual one used for valuation of the portfolio of the scheme, the relevant currency exchange rates must be shown.

3

Details of any assets loaned or charged

(a)

A summary of those investments (if any) which were, at the closing date, loaned to any third party and those investments (if any) that were at that date charged to secure borrowings made on behalf of the portfolio of the scheme; and

(b)

the aggregate of any interest payments made and income received during the account period in respect of loans or borrowings made during the period.

4

Transactions and changes in composition

Except in the case of a portfolio which aims to track the performance of an external index:

(a)

a statement that summarises the transactions entered into for the portfolio of the scheme during the period; and

(b)

the aggregate of money and a summary of all investments transferred into and out of the portfolio of the scheme during the period; and

(c)

the aggregate of any interest payments, dividends and other benefits received by the operator for the portfolio of the scheme during that period.

5

Charges and remuneration

If not previously advised in writing, a statement for the account period:

(a)

of the aggregate charges of the operator and its associates; and

(b)

of any remuneration received by the operator or its associates or both from a third party in respect of the transactions entered into, or any other services provided, for the portfolio of the scheme.

6

Movement in value of portfolio

A statement of the difference between the value of the portfolio at the closing date and its value at the starting date of the account period, having regard at least, during the account period, to the following:

(a)

the aggregate of assets received from participants of the scheme and added to the portfolio of the scheme;

(b)

the aggregate of the value of assets transferred, or of amounts paid, to the scheme;

(c)

the aggregate income received on behalf of the scheme in respect of the portfolio; and

(d)

the aggregate of realised and unrealised profits or gains and losses attributable to the assets comprised in the portfolio of the scheme.

Notes:

For the purposes of Item 1, where the scheme is a property enterprise trust, it will be sufficient for the periodic statement to disclose the number of properties held in successive valuation bands where this is appropriate to the size and composition of the scheme, rather than the value of each asset in the portfolio. The valuation bands of over £10m, £5-£10m, £2.5-£5m, £1-£2.5m and under £1m would be appropriate, unless an operator could show that different bands were justifiable in the circumstances.

The statement to be provided under Item 6 is not intended to be an indicator of the performance of the portfolio of the scheme.An operator may wish to distinguish capital and income, and thereby provide more information than referred to in this table. If the statement includes some measure of performance, the basis of measurement should be stated.

COBS 18.5.18ERP

Table: Contents of a periodic statement in respect of contingent liability investments

This table belongs to COBS 18.5.15 E.

Contents of a periodic statement in respect of contingent liability investments

(1)

Changes in value

The aggregate of money transferred into and out of the portfolio of the scheme during the account period.

(2)

Open positions

In relation to each open position in the portfolio of the scheme at the end of the account period, the unrealised profit or loss to the portfolio of the scheme (before deducting or adding any commission which would be payable on closing out).

(3)

Closed positions

In relation to each transaction effected during the account period to close out a position of the scheme, the resulting profit or loss to the portfolio of the scheme after deducting or adding any commission.

(Instead of the specific detail required by Items 2 or 3, the statement may show the net profit or loss in respect of the overall position of the scheme in each contract)

(4)

Aggregate of contents

The aggregate of each of the following in, or relating to, the portfolio of the scheme at the close of business on the valuation date:

(a)

cash;

(b)

collateral value;

(c)

management fees; and

(d)

commissions attributable to transactions during the period or a statement that this information has been separately disclosed in writing on earlier statements or confirmations to the participant.

(5)

Option account valuations

In respect of each open option comprising the portfolio of the scheme on the valuation date:

(a)

the share, future, index or other investment or asset involved;

(b)

(unless the valuation statement follows the statement for the period in which the option was opened) the trade price and date for the opening transaction;

(c)

the market price of the contract; and

(d)

the exercise price of the contract.

Options account valuations may show an average trade price and market price in respect of an option series where a number of contracts within the same series have been purchased on behalf of the scheme.