At the end of May 2021, the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA), the EU’s securities regulator, set out the requirements that funds’ marketing communications must fulfill under the Guidelines for the Regulation on cross-border distribution of funds. 

Here is what you need to know:

These guidelines apply to:

  • UCITS management companies, including any UCITS which has not designated a UCITS management company
  • Alternative investment fund managers
  • EuVECA managers 
  • EuSEF managers

The guidelines affect all marketing communications addressed to:

  • Investors or potential investors for UCITS and AIFs, including when they are set up as EuVECAs, EuSEFs, ELTIFs and MMFs

Marketing communications must:

  1. Be clearly identifiable as such and have a clearly displayed disclaimer in all marketing formats, including any videos, social media posts, etc
  2. Highlight all risks and rewards equally by using the same font sizes and by mentioning risks and rewards on the same level OR one after the other
  3. Provide clear, fair, unbiased and up to date information
  4. Be consistent with the legal and regulatory documents of the promoted fund
  5. Must clearly state the currency and the potential increases associated with exchange rates when talking about the cost associated with purchasing, selling, holding, or converting units. 
  6. Provide a clear explanation to enhance investors understanding of the overall impact of costs on the amount of their investment and the expected returns
  7. Present past performance information based solely on historical data for each year and include any change that significantly affected the past performance of the promoted fund e.g. a change of the fund manager. This should be prominently disclosed.
  8. Provide expected future performance figures, based on reasonable assumptions, without any aggregate figures, and attach a disclaimer that these are only projections and any investment may lead to a potential loss
  9. Provide accurate and consistent information when referring  to the sustainability-related aspects of the investment

The full report and detailed guidelines could be found here. 

What’s next:

Firstly, the ESMA’s Guidelines will be translated into all official EU languages. Following their publication on the ESMA’s website, a two-month period will begin whereby national competent authorities must notify the ESMA as to whether they comply, or intend to comply, with the guidelines. All guidelines will come into an effect 6 months after the translations are published.