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AIF purchases indicate a sharp decline in 2021.

Alternative investment funds (AIFs) saw a significant decline in 2021, falling from €187 billion in 2020 to €75 billion.

This decline is attributed to several sizable Dutch pension funds' decision to stop managing their assets within AIF wrapper structures, according to the European Fund and Asset Management Association's (EFAMA) 2022 industry Fact Book.

In 2021, long-term Ucits were bought for an average of more than €40 billion per month, resulting in net sales of Ucits that reached an all-time high of €812 billion.

According to EFAMA, equity funds attracted more than half of all Ucits net inflows in 2021 as the year's strong stock markets and promising growth prospects helped to boost investor confidence.

By the end of 2021, net assets of sustainable Ucits funds had grown to €3.1 trillion, bringing their percentage of overall Ucits net assets to 24 percent.

In particular, SFDR Article 8 (ESG-linked funds) funds reported €2.6 trillion in net assets at the end of 2021, while SFDR Article 9 (ESG and impact focused) funds reported €491 billion in net assets.

According to the EFAMA data, Ucits and AIFs have become increasingly popular over the past ten years.

At the end of 2021, the net assets of Ucits and AIFs owned by European investors totaled €16 trillion, up from €6.1 trillion in 2011, or a 150% increase in 10 years.

The amount of investment from non-European investors has also increased recently. From €1.6 trillion in 2011 to €4.7 trillion in 2021, the net assets of European funds owned by non-European investors increased.

The director general of EFAMA, Tanguy van de Werve, stated: "Beyond providing in-depth analysis of recent trends in the European investment fund industry, this year’s edition of the Fact Book analyses several issues highly relevant for our industry, including the current limitations of the Sustainable Financial Disclosure Regulation (SFDR), the review of the ELTIF regulation, the opportunity cost of saving excessively in bank deposits, as well as some proposals to amend the money market funds regulation. We hope that these analyses will contribute to a better understanding of the structural and regulatory environment that affects the outlook for the industry."


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