Some of the key highlights were:
- Firms will be required to submit Annex IV reports electronically via GABRIEL from the end of 2014 onwards and the FCA will only be accepting ESMA XML schema v1.1., even though this is not the most recent release of the report. Firms will therefore need to ensure that they use the correct schema or if they are using a service provider to create the report that the provider can deliver a product using the schema v1.1. The fact that the FCA is using the older version of the report means that some of the data fields may not be able to be completed.
There will be three options for filing the Annex IV report, namely:
- Online Form on GABRIEL;
- Upload of the XML file through the “B2B” portal;
- Creating an XML document and uploading this to the GABRIEL reporting system.
However, the FCA stated that they would prefer firms not to use the online form.
- In relation to the format of reporting, there was also a discussion regarding whether the FCA will provide firms with an excel template that they could upload to GABRIEL. The FCA confirmed they are still deciding whether they will produce such a template and whilst they are in the process of developing a template for internal purposes this may not be made available to firms.
- The Annex IV reports will have a number of validations, some of which are set by the FCA and others by ESMA. At this stage the FCA cannot implement some of the ESMA validations and therefore a firm’s report may pass all the FCA validations in GABRIEL but once the FCA forward this on to ESMA (which is expected to be very quickly after submission) further validations will be run by ESMA. If there are any issues with validation at this point ESMA will contact the FCA and then the FCA will contact firms to get the report amended.
- The Annex IV report will be covered by two FCA data items, namely AIF001 which will the manager schema and AIF002 which will be the fund transparency report. Therefore, firms will need to submit multiple data items.
- For fund of funds AIFs an AIFM has 45 business days to submit the report to the FCA. However, as GABRIEL is not able to accommodate a submission period of 45 days, all reports will show as due within 30 business days on GABRIEL. Firms will still have the 45-day period to submit the report but may need to let FCA know that it relates to a fund of funds AIF if they receive queries on why their report was submitted late.
- Non-EEA AIFMs that market AIFs in the UK (and are therefore required to report to FCA) will receive a Firm Reference Number (“FRN”) when they submit their marketing application to the FCA. This FRN will enable them to set up an account on GABRIEL so they can make the required submissions.
- FCA confirmed that whilst firms are permitted to delegate reporting to external vendors the AIFM itself is still responsible for the content and filing of the report. Firms will therefore need to ensure they fully understand what needs to be submitted and be able to validate any data that has been submitted.
In addition to the above general points on Annex IV reporting, there were a lot of quite technical questions specific to certain information requested as part of the Annex IV report and firms should be ensuring that they are aware of what information they need to collate. The FCA also reminded firms of the need to read the various reporting guidance produced by ESMA and the FCA as well as the ESMA Q&As.