22 July 2013 is a day that will either unleash great potential from alternative investment funds and managers, or result in a regulatory quagmire.
Swiss alternative fund managers sighed with relief last December when EU and Swiss regulators came to an agreement allowing them to continue selling their products into the EU.
Matthaeus Den Otter, chief executive of the Swiss Funds Association until July this year, described the agreement as "a milestone on the road to market access for Swiss-based asset managers".
The alternatives sector's biggest fear had always been that their access to the EU market would have been closed off with the Directive's introduction.
Under the terms of the Directive, fund management companies are barred from managing or distributing alternative products within the EU space without first having secured the necessary authorisation. As Switzerland is not a member of the European Economic Area, some managers had been considering moving their operations to Liechtenstein, an EEA member.
From July, Swiss funds will continue to be regulated and supervised by FINMA. The terms of the agreement specify that EU and Swiss supervisors will be able to supervise fund managers that operate on a cross-border basis in the EU and Switzerland, including the exchange of information, cross-border on-site visits and assistance in the enforcement of the respective laws.
The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) negotiated the agreement with FINMA on behalf of all 27 EU national authorities for securities markets regulation. It will apply to Swiss alternative investment fund managers that manage or market alternative investment funds in the EU, and to EU AIFMs that manage or market AIFs in Switzerland. The agreement also covers co-operation in the cross-border supervision of depositaries and AIFMs' delegates.
Steven Maijoor, chairman of ESMA, said: "The agreement by the EU and Swiss supervisors to facilitate co-operation on the supervision of cross-border alternative funds is an important step in increasing investor protection and the global consistency of supervision."