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COLLG 4A.1 Introduction

COLLG 4A.1.1G

Section 262 (Open-ended investment companies) of the Act provides for HM Treasury to make regulations governing the establishment and regulation of ICVCs. Rather than merely adopting various parts of UK company law, HM Treasury chose a 'stand alone' approach for its OEIC Regulations. The main features and practical effects of those regulations are outlined below.

Applications for authorisation (Regulations 12-17)

COLLG 4A.1.2G
  1. (1)

    The FCA requires an application for authorisation of an ICVC to be made jointly by the ACD and depositary, both of which must be:

    1. (a)

      authorised persons under the Act with the appropriate Part 4A permissions; and

    2. (b)

      independent of each other (see COLL 6.9.2 G (Independence of depositaries and scheme operators) which provides guidance on independence).

  2. (2)

    The application must contain details of the ACD and depositary, and any other person proposed as a director of the ICVC, of the scheme itself, and of other persons to whom functions are to be delegated (e.g. the registrar and the investment adviser).

  3. (3)

    Application forms are available free of charge from the forms page at https://www.handbook.fca.org.uk/form.

  4. (4)

    A fee is payable and must be submitted with the application (see FEES 3 Annex 2 R (Application and notification fees payable in relation to collective investment schemes)).

  5. (5)

    The following items must be provided with the application:

    1. (a)

      a copy of the proposed ICVC's instrument of incorporation;

    2. (b)

      a solicitor's certificate stating that the instrument of incorporation complies with Schedule 2 to the OEIC Regulations and with COLL;

    3. (c)

      a copy of the prospectus, with a checklist indicating the location of the information required by COLL to be contained in it;

    4. (d)

      in the case of an authorisation application relating to a UCITS scheme, a copy of the key investor information document; and

    5. (e)

      if applicable, documents evidencing any guarantee arrangement.

  6. (6)

    The name of the ICVC must not be undesirable or misleading and must not be the same as that of an existing company. Regulation 19 includes a list of words and expressions that are prohibited from inclusion within the name of an ICVC and further guidance can be found in COLL 6.9 (Independence, names and UCITS business restrictions). As with an AUT, the aim of the ICVC must be reasonably capable of being achieved.

  7. (7)

    As with an AUT, the FCA has:

    1. (a)

      in the case of a proposed UCITS up to 2 months; or

    2. (b)

      in the case of any other proposed scheme up to 6 months;

to determine a completed application, but aims to process 75% of applications for UCITS schemes within six weeks. If the FCA is satisfied with the application, an authorisation order is issued. The ICVC becomes incorporated when the authorisation order is issued.

Notification of changes to ICVCs (Regulations 21 and 22A)

COLLG 4A.1.3G
  1. (1)

    The FCA's approval is required before the following changes can take place:

    1. (a)

      any alteration to the instrument of incorporation;

    2. (b)

      any significant alteration to the prospectus;

    3. (c)

      any reconstruction or amalgamation involving the ICVC;

    4. (d)

      any proposal to wind up the ICVC or a sub-fund of an ICVC otherwise than by the court;

    5. (e)

      any proposal to replace a director, appoint an additional director, or decrease the number of directors in post; and

    6. (f)

      any proposal to replace the depositary.

  2. (2)

    Any notice proposing to change the instrument of incorporation must be accompanied by a solicitor's certificate confirming that the change will not affect compliance of the instrument with Schedule 2 to the OEIC Regulations and COLL as they relate to the contents of the instrument.

  3. (3)

    The FCA has one month following written notification under Regulation 21 (The Authority's approval for certain changes in respect of a company) to consider whether or not to refuse the proposal. In the case of a notice under Regulation 22A (The Authority's approval for conversion of a feeder UCITS) the period available to the FCA is 15 working days.

Revocation of authorisation (Regulation 23)

COLLG 4A.1.4G

The FCA can revoke or refuse to revoke an authorisation order on similar grounds to those for an AUT. If it proposes to do so, similar procedures for warning notices and decision notices as for AUTs apply (see COLLG 3A.1.5 G (2)).

Power of intervention (Regulation 25)

COLLG 4A.1.5G

The FCA has a power of intervention if it appears there is a breach of the Act or a rule of COLL, or if it is desirable to give a direction to protect the interests of investors in the ICVC. Directions can be given to cease the issue or redemption of units or any class of unit in the ICVC or for the winding up of the ICVC.

Corporate Code

COLLG 4A.1.6G
  1. (1)

    Certain provisions of the Companies Acts will apply to ICVCs, as they are incorporated bodies (especially, but not exclusively, regarding the holding of meetings).

  2. (2)

    Regulations 34 to 70 lay down the corporate code for ICVCs. The code contains provisions dealing with the operation of ICVCs and includes a number of general company law provisions, for example personal liability for contracts and deeds and punishment for fraudulent trading. The operation of an ICVC is also governed by COLL.

The FCA's registration function

COLLG 4A.1.7G

In accordance with Part IV of the OEIC Regulations, the FCA is required to maintain a register of ICVCs, allocate to each a registered number, and carry out certain other registration functions.

Sub-funds of umbrella ICVC

COLLG 4A.1.8G

Regulations 11A, 11B and 33C implement a protected cell regime for sub-funds of umbrella ICVCs. As a result a Unitholder in a solvent sub-fund of an umbrella ICVC receives protection in respect of liabilities of and claims against: (i) the umbrella company; and (ii) any other sub-fund. COLL provides for:

  1. (1)

    disclosure requirements in respect of the limited recourse to the assets and liabilities of a particular sub-fund in the instrument constituting the scheme (see COLL 3.2.6 R (Table: contents of the instrument constituting the scheme) paragraph 22A) and the prospectus (see COLL 4.2.5 R (Table: contents of the prospectus) paragraph 2A);

  2. (2)

    limitations on cross sub-fund investment (see COLL 5.2 (General investment powers and limits for UCITS schemes) for UCITS schemes and COLL 5.6 (Investment powers and borrowing limits for non-UCITS retail schemes) for non-UCITS retail schemes); and

  3. (3)

    duties on the ACD to take appropriate action in relation to foreign law contracts which after prompt investigation appear to be inconsistent with the principle of limited recourse (see COLL 6.6.5A R (Duties of the ACD of an ICVC: umbrella schemes)).