The Irish Stock Exchange (“ISE”) is widely regarded as the world leader for the listing of investment funds. At 31 December 2008, there were over 3,800 funds and sub-funds listed.
Conditions for Listing
A fund, of any legal structure duly established in accordance with the laws of its domicile with limited liability, with or without a trading history, and from any domicile, may seek a listing.
The ISE’s listing conditions focus on:
- high standards of suitability for the parties to the fund;
- safe custody of fund assets;
- spread of investment risk appropriate to the investor base and asset type;
- equal treatment of shares of the same class; and
- sufficient flow of information to the market to ensure an efficient market in the fund’s securities.
In order to list, a fund must first appoint a Sponsor, which is registered with the ISE. The Sponsor is responsible for ensuring that the fund is suitable for listing and for dealing with the ISE in relation to all aspects of the fund’s listing. Once satisfied with the fund’s suitability, the Sponsor assists the fund’s advisors in preparing a listing particulars, often using the fund’s prospectus or offering document and including the listing requirements.
The Sponsor submits the draft listing particulars to the ISE’s dedicated funds team for approval. The ISE is known for its commercial and efficient approach. When finalized, usually within 3-6 weeks, the listing particulars together with support documentation, is submitted to the ISE 48 hours prior to the intended listing date. Once shares are issued, the fund is admitted to the Daily Official List.
If a fund is domiciled and regulated in Ireland, it benefits from streamlined listing requirements and a shorter listing timetable.
Once listed, the fund must continue to comply with the listing requirements. In particular, its net asset value(s) must be sent to the ISE for publication, without delay upon calculation. An open-ended fund’s annual and interim accounts must also be sent to the ISE and shareholders within six and four months of the financial year-end and half year-end respectively. A fund must also inform the market, through its Sponsor and the Companies Announcements Office of the ISE (which in turn feeds to news services including Reuters and Bloomberg as well as the ISE’s own website) of information that is price sensitive or could affect the financial position of the fund.
Closed Ended Funds
Closed-ended funds are subject to the separate requirements of the EU Prospectus Directive and the Transparency Directive, for which the Irish Stock Exchange is the designated Competent Authority.