Katia Gauzès, managing partner, Clifford Chance in Luxembourg. Photo: Clifford Chance

Katia Gauzès, managing partner, Clifford Chance in Luxembourg. Photo: Clifford Chance

Wealthier individuals are increasingly gaining access to private market funds, traditionally the preserve of institutional investors like pension funds. Industry players call the trend ‘retailisation’ but is that descriptor misleading? Delano asked Katia Gauzès and Paul Van den Abeele at the law firm of Clifford Chance.

‘Retailisation’ is the correct term for opening up private market funds because “when we lawyers look at things, we look at it in terms of classification of investors,” said , co-head of the investment funds practice at Clifford Chance in Luxembourg. “High-net-worth individuals, even ultra-high-net-worth individuals don’t always qualify as professional clients.” Thus they are considered retail investors.

“What would be wrong is to think that it’s easy and that you can just quickly access those products,” said , managing partner at Clifford Chance in Luxembourg. “It’s not like a ‘click and go’” offering. Asset managers and investors need to proceed carefully, she warned.

At the same time, fund firms face plenty of scrutiny over the fast growing category. “We see support from the regulator, but we also see a certain ‘prove me this, prove me that’, which I think is what a regulator should do,” said Van den Abeele. “So we are tested. It’s a quite intense sort of regulatory review process... Luxembourg is open for business but not at all costs.”