Fund boutiques have gained in popularity over the years. Markus Hill* spoke on behalf of FONDSBOUTIQUEN.DE with David Gamper, Managing Director of the LAVF Liechtenstein Investment Fund Association, about the launch of private label funds. The interview also covered the importance of German fund initiators for the financial center as well as topics such as AIFM, tax transparency, and strategy.
Hill: What advantages does the Liechtenstein location offer for the launch of private label funds?
Gamper: The biggest advantage is the fast processes. This is almost a matter of course for providers due to the high level of service orientation, but it is also a given for the Financial Market Authority. If necessary, fund management companies, AIFM and also fund initiators, can meet within lesser days, allowing many questions to be clarified in advance before implementation. This makes it easier to work both when launching funds and in the ongoing administration. In contrast to other locations, the Liechtenstein Financial Market Authority appreciates these clarifications, since it enhances less work to the written applications. Since the legislative reform on 1 February 2020, alternative investment funds (AIF) no longer have to be licensed; it is sufficient to notify the Financial Market Authority. Nevertheless, AIF is supervised and audited, and Liechtenstein does not wish to deviate from this quality standard. If an AIF is distributed, a distribution notification is required, which the Financial Market Authority generally confirms within 4 to 5 days. This ensures a very short time to market. It should certainly also be mentioned that funds in Liechtenstein are exempt from all taxes. The investor therefore only has to take into account the taxes in his home country.
Hill: How attractive is the German market for Liechtenstein?
Gamper: Germany is the most important and attractive market for the Liechtenstein fund industry after Switzerland, which uses Liechtenstein as access to the domestic market. The share of German initiators of private label funds has increased disproportionately, especially in the last 3 to 4 years. It is interesting to note that in the current COVID-19 crisis one or the other fund project has been postponed, but also many new inquiries are coming in, with some providers even more than before the crisis. Generally, these projects refer to material assets such as real estate.
Hill: Liechtenstein as a financial center – how has the picture changed over the years?
Gamper: When it comes to taxes, Liechtenstein has changed completely. For more than 10 years the country has been pursuing a consistent tax compliance strategy, and that pays off. The Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes (OECD) has already given Liechtenstein good marks in its country assessments in 2015 and assessed it as a „Largely Compliant“. In terms of tax transparency, Liechtenstein thus has the same classification as, for example, Germany and Great Britain. Liechtenstein has also been involved in the automatic exchange of information from the very beginning and has joined the Early Adopter Initiative of the G5 states (Germany, France, Great Britain, Italy, Spain) for the earlier introduction of the AIA. Liechtenstein’s financial companies have experienced a considerable upswing in recent years and today score points above all with outstanding services.
Hill: Which book are you currently reading?
Gamper: I have just read two books again after a long time. „Fish! An unusual motivation book“ by Stephen C. Lundin, Harry Paul, and John Christensen and „The Max-Strategy“ by Date Dauten.
Hill: Thank you very much for the interview.
Markus Hill is an independent asset management consultant based in Frankfurt am Main. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; website: www.markus-hill.com
David Gamper is Managing Director of LAFV Liechtensteinischer Anlagefondsverband, (Liechtenstein Investment Fund Association) the official representation of interests of the Liechtenstein fund industry. LAFV’s mission is to promote the development of Liechtenstein as a fund center and therefore further improve its attractiveness for fund providers and investors.
Association LAFV: https://www.lafv.li/DE/Home/Dash