European Union: Bringing ETFS To Market - Listing In Europe

Last Updated: 1 December 2015
Article by Tara O'Callaghan

Most Read Contributor in Ireland, July 2017

The European ETF Market

It has been 15 years since the first ETF came to market in Europe. Assets under management in the European ETF market reached $491 billion at the end of October 2015, with inflows of $62 billion in 2014 alone. ETFGI report that this level has already been eclipsed in 2015, with over $68.8 billion in net inflows by the end of October, representing an 11% increase over all of 2014.

The European ETF industry has 1,519 ETFs listed on 24 exchanges in 21 countries at the end of October 2015, according to ETFGI. ETFs must be locally registered in each jurisdiction in which they are to be sold, with a local listing preferable in each market. With many ETFs listed on multiple exchanges across Europe, liquidity is fragmented into small discrete pools. Transparency is limited by a lack of trade reporting in the ETF sector, with some 70% of ETF trades currently unreported. This memorandum aims to serve as a guide through the process, key considerations and differences at local market level in bringing ETFs to market and to listing across the principal European exchanges.

Dillon Eustace ETF Team

Dillon Eustace has a dedicated ETF team, including partners and senior associates from both the financial services and listing groups. We have established passive and active ETFs for a range of global providers, which are listed on multiple European and global exchanges. Through our international reach and network, we offer our clients one stop expertise in bringing their products to market.

Cross Listing on Multiple Exchanges

The process of bringing ETFs to market in Europe differs substantially from the US environment, with European ETFs having to consider the requirements of a range of national exchanges, local regulations and the appointment of local agents.

With no centralised exchange system in Europe, the European ETF market is largely centred on the more popular European exchanges such as the London Stock Exchange ("LSE"), Deutsche Boerse, Euronext, SIX and Borsa Italiana. ETFs are usually cross listed on a number of these markets as the product is sold across Europe. It is important to be aware that listing requirements and regimes at each exchange can differ substantially and involve separate listing applications in each jurisdiction.

By way of example, the following table shows the extent to which some of the larger ETF ranges are simultaneously cross listed on the principal European exchanges:

Local Registration for Sale

The first step in selling in Europe involves the registration of the ETF for sale in each jurisdiction in which it is to be sold or listed. Registration is facilitated under the UCITS brand. This efficient passport regime allows UCITS to be sold on a retail basis throughout the EU. The UCITS regime provides a 10 day timescale for local registration in each Member State, and is undertaken directly by the ETF's Home Competent Authority. An Issuer should however consider that requirements to appoint local agents in each jurisdiction for such registrations may extend this timeline.

Switzerland, being outside of the EU, and therefore outside of the scope of the UCITS Directive, operates on a different basis. Registration with the local regulator, FINMA, takes 30 days. It is possible to sell to institutional investors in Switzerland without a local listing.

Local Listing

Following registration for sale, the ETF is generally listed on the domestic exchange in each jurisdiction. The listing process in each jurisdiction differs considerably, but generally involves the following steps:

1. Appointment of local service providers (as appropriate) – Paying Agent, Registration Agent, Legal Adviser, Listing Sponsor, Market Makers, Distributors;

2. Application to Listing Authority for listing approval (in the UK only through UKLA);

3. Application to Exchange for listing & trading.

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