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ESMA Q&As clarify benchmark disclosure obligations for UCITS

29 March 2019

The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) has today updated its Questions and Answers (Q&As) regarding the application of the Undertakings in Collective Investments in Transferable Securities (UCITS) Directive. 

The updated Q&As clarify the UCITS KIID benchmark and past performance obligations, namely that:

Benchmark disclosure

  1. UCITS should clearly indicate, in the KIID, whether their strategy is ‘active’ (or ‘actively managed’) or ‘passive’ (or ‘passively managed’);
  2. A UCITS managed in reference to a benchmark is one where the benchmark plays a role in the management of the UCITS, for example, in the explicit or implicit definition of its portfolio composition and/or performance objectives and measures (this clarification led to repeal of an existing Q&A on past performance); and
  3. Investors should be provided with an indication of how actively managed the UCITS is, compared to its reference benchmark index.

Past performance

  1. Where funds name a target in their investment objectives and policies, the performance should be disclosed against the target, even if the comparator is not named a ‘benchmark’
  2. The performance disclosed in the KIID regarding a benchmark index should be consistent with performance disclosure in other investor communications.

The purpose of these Q&A documents is to promote common supervisory approaches and practices in the application of the UCITS Directive and its implementing measures.

ESMA will periodically review these Q&A documents and update them where required.