Exchange-Traded Funds (ETFs)

Our Practice

Simmons & Simmons has authoritative ETF expertise in key European jurisdictions as well as having the leading ETF practice in Hong Kong. We are able to provide both legal advice and practical assistance to ETF issuers and managers as the development of this dynamic industry continues.

We also have significant experience of advising on the establishment of ETN programmes and obtaining listings on the London, Irish and Italian Stock Exchanges. We have advised on both physical and synthetic programmes encompassing a range of underlying asset classes, including commodities, equities and fixed income securities.

Our core team operates in seven jurisdictions and is led by seven partners and three senior associates. Specialist lawyers outside the core team are also involved to provide the full range of legal services required by asset management clients.

In addition, our team enjoys the full support of our market-leading European and Asian asset management practice.

Recent Developments

In Europe the recent implementation of the UCITS IV Directive in most jurisdictions has led to a greatly simplified and typically much quicker process for registering UCITS compliant ETFs for marketing in other EU Member States.

It is also worth noting that a listing on one European Euronext market enables an ETF’s shares to be traded on all three markets (Amsterdam, Brussels, Paris) as a result of Euronext’s single order book.

ESMA’s guidelines on ETFs and other UCITS issues will have a major impact on European ETFs structured as UCITS. These guidelines will not only impact the content of the prospectus of the relevant ETFs, but also their use of financial derivatives, efficient portfolio management techniques and treatment of collateral.

In Hong Kong, the globalisation of the RMB and the opening of China’s markets has led to the listing of the Renminbi qualified institutional investor ETFs listed in Hong Kong, trading in RMB and HK$, investing directly in A-shares, PRC government bonds as well as ETFs investing in offshore “dim sum” bonds.

Our Services

In depth industry knowledge and expertise in specialist areas enables us to advise on the full range of issues relevant to ETFs. We can advise you on

  • structuring funds and choosing the right domicile „„
  • the regulatory authorisation process „„
  • the listing process „„marketing (including the review of multi-jurisdictional websites) „„
  • regulatory issues for ETF managers „„
  • the relevant ETF documentation
  • synthetic and traditional ETFs
  • physical commodities ETFs

Furthermore we can provide advice on all ongoing regulatory obligations imposed on the ETF issuer or its manager.

Specialist Expertise

International projects

Lyxor International Asset Management „„

  • advising in relation to the content of a website across 17 jurisdictions

A leading US ETF provider

  • „„the first Euronext listing of US ETFs seeking daily 3x leveraged investment results on Euronext Amsterdam

Acquisition of an ETF provider „„

  • providing regulatory advice in relation to the highprofile acquisition of an ETF provider

Production and maintenance of KIIDs

  • „„for db x-trackers and db x-trackers II

Euronext (Amsterdam, Brussels, Paris)

BlackRock Asset Management Deutschland AG „„

  • registration and cross listing of 31 ETFs on Euronext Paris

HSBC ETFs plc „„

  • registration and cross listing on Euronext Paris and registration in The Netherlands

iShares plc
iShares II plc

  • „„registration and cross listing on Euronext Paris of 46 ETFs

db x-trackers
db x-trackers II

  • registration and cross listing on Euronext Paris (ongoing)

CS ETF (IE) plc

  • „„registration and cross listing on Euronext Paris

Other ETF providers for whom we regularly act include

  • „„iShares III plc
  • „„iShares IV plc
  • „„iShares V plc

Deutsche Börse (Germany)

Estlander & Rönnlund

  • „„listing and registration on Deutsche Börse-Xetra Active Funds (Xetra)

iShares MSCI Indices „„

  • advice on the issuance and listing of derivative products related to ETFs

MW Indices Plc „„

  • registration and listing on Xetra; subsequent de-listing

Borsa Italiana (Italy)

db x-trackers
db x-trackers II

  • „„registration and cross listing on Borsa Italiana SpA of 150 ETFs including the first short ETFs and the first ETFs tracking credit default swap indices (iTraxx) in the Italian

London Stock Exchange

Amundi ETFs „„

  • advising on registration and admission to trading of 40 ETFs (the first French FCPs to be admitted to trading on the LSE) „„
  • advising on their UK website and high profile marketing campaign

Ossiam Lux „„

  • advising on registration and admission to trading of 6 ETFs

Baker Steel Resources Trust Limited „„

  • advising on launch and listing on the Main Marketmarket

Hong Kong Stock Exchange (SEHK)

ChinaAMC CSI 300 Index ETF

  • „„the world’s first direct investing A-Shares ETF utilising RQFII

Hang Seng

  • „„the world’s first Renminbi denominated physical gold ETF
  • the first domestic Hong Kong RQFII ETF

iShares Asia Trust „„

  • the first private sector ETFs listed on the SEHK and authorised by the SFC
  • the first "dim sum" bond ETF

E-Fund CSI 100 A-Share Index ETF

  • „„advising on a RQFII ETF investing directly in "A" Shares

Harvest MSCI China A Index and A 50 Index ETFs „„

  • advising on the first "dual counter" ETF on the SEHK and a second RQFII ETF investing directly in "A" shares

db x-trackers I
db x-trackers II

  • SFC authorisation and cross listing of 30 ETFs

Mirae Asset Horizons ETF Series „„

  • advising Korea’s largest ETF provider on its 10 SEHK listed ETFs

Polaris Tracker Fund

  • „„the first feeder fund ETF on the SEHK

Value China ETF „„

  • the first dynamic index ETF listed on the SEHK

XIE Shares Trust I

  • „„the first domestic Hong Kong synthetic ETF platform (7 ETFs)