US Asset Managers, why Luxembourg?

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Prior to Brexit, US Asset Managers wanting to participate in the European funds market would have naturally gravitated towards London. Post-Brexit, Luxembourg has become even more attractive. Luxembourg offers US Asset Managers the full range of fund services, industry expertise and a legal and regulatory framework they need to effectively establish themselves and distribute funds into Europe.

Based in Sandy, Utah, just south of Salt Lake City, Bridge Investment Group (‘Bridge’) is a leading private-equity real estate investment management firm with $36.3 billion in assets under management as of December 31, 2021. 

Bridge focuses mainly on US real estate investment opportunities (multifamily, office, seniors housing, workforce & affordable housing, opportunity zones, logistics and debt strategies), and has a broad international investor base. In parallel with the opening of its first international office in Asia in 2020, Bridge was also looking to open in Europe and Luxembourg in particular.

Luxembourg offers many advantages. It has a wide range of services providers with the right experience and expertise to support incoming US Asset Managers. For that, and with great satisfaction, Bridge turned to DLA Piper’s Luxembourg office for assistance. 

Jennifer Walker, Corporate Counsel and head of Bridge’s European operations in Luxembourg, is delighted with DLA Piper. She speaks of them in glowing terms, ‘The law firm has offered excellent practical and legal solutions. The team’s help knew no bounds, they tirelessly helped us in all aspects. They are fully invested in Bridge’s growth into Europe and add incredible value as advisors to us as market entrants.’ 

The law firm has offered excellent practical and legal solutions.
Jennfier Walker

Jennfier Walker,  US Corporate Counsel, Compliance Officer,  Bridge Europe

Bridge launched its first Luxembourgish investment fund vehicles in 2020, and Jennifer Walker opened Bridge Europe’s first office at the end of 2021. Jennifer and Caroline Pimpaud and her team continue to collaborate, not just on the legal and regulatory matters of European operations, but on all matters of relocating to a new country. Jennifer is particularly grateful for the initiative that DLA Piper takes. ‘They don’t just guide us in our specific questions; they proactively draw our attention to changes in the regulatory landscape that impact our business.’

Luxembourg’s attractiveness for US Asset Managers…

Since 2013, Luxembourg has become increasingly more attractive for US Asset Managers. Implementation of the AIFMD, followed by the modernisation of the partnership regime (SCS/SCSp) and the RAIF regime, has provided Luxembourg with a strong legal framework that meets both investor and manager needs and has positioned Luxembourg as a fund management hub.

Although Luxembourgish regulations may initially seem daunting, over time and by getting increasingly streamlined, the legal system provides good guidance with context and clarity for efficient and reliable execution. Whereas in the US it may take a couple of weeks to launch a fund, in Luxembourg it could be a couple of months. However, once operations are set up, launches can be done faster.

Luxembourg’s political stability, especially in the context of Brexit, and the accessibility of its regulator (CSSF) is reassuring to US Asset Managers wanting to set up European operations and offer a safe environment to their investors.

Luxembourg benefits from the EU marketing passport that allows US asset players to easily market investment funds vehicles across Europe. This is a key factor for asset managers for whom success relies (at least partially) on their capacity to raise capital.

Luxembourg benefits from the EU marketing passport that allows US asset players to easily market investment funds vehicles across Europe.
Caroline Pimpaud

Caroline Pimpaud,  Partner,  DLA Piper

… other aspects that help forge a lasting US/Luxembourg relationship.

Luxembourg has a welcoming language culture. From being drilled throughout school, Luxembourgers learn the distinct advantage of being multilingually proficient. Luxembourgers will, by reflex, try to respond to you in your native language.

For an English-speaking American, not having to face language obstacles is a huge relief. It is a sharp contrast from other European places where being a non-native language speaker can cast one out to the margins. Fear not. You will be fine here.

If embracing languages is the first step to embracing diversity and being open to new ideas, Luxembourg has done that too. It’s a matter of practicality.

Other than being an English-speaking haven in the heart of Europe, Luxembourg offers many professional and cultural advantages. Should you establish a presence here, there is no shortage of financial services talent to attract and cultivate.

US Asset Managers based in Luxembourg will certainly have the time-zone advantage for reaching their European clients, and those in Asia, while still being tuned in to what is happening in the States.

As far Bridge is concerned, their first steps into the Luxembourg market have been most reassuring. Jennifer and her team intend to stay in Luxembourg and grow their European asset management activities. They will also keep trusted DLA Piper involved in every step of their Luxembourg and European journey.