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Laurent Fessmann

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Laurent Fessmann is a Banking & Finance partner specializing in the formation and structuring of Luxembourg investment funds. He is a former managing partner of the Luxembourg office and the current co-chairman of the Baker McKenzie's Global Funds Steering Committee. He started his career in 1996 as in-house counsel in a French CAC40-listed company where he worked intensively on LBO transactions, capital markets and corporate law matters. Mr. Fessmann joined a Luxembourg business law firm where he became a partner prior to founding his own law firm in 2009. He is a highly regarded professional and recognized legal professional in Chambers, Legal 500, IFLR notably. He contributes time and knowledge in several market participant industry associations in particular as co-chairman of the ABBL/ALFI depositary forum working groups, the European Public Real Estate Association, the Luxembourg Private Equity Association and the Association of Global Custodians. He is also a regulator at fund conferences such as ALFI, IBCI and regularly invited to speak on internal or bank seminars.

European Union, online public access to the Luxembourg register of beneficial owners (RBO) was temporarily suspended.
On 16 December 2022, online access to the RBO was re-established for professionals subject to the amended law of 12 November 2004 on the fight against money laundering and terrorist financing (“Professionals”), such as professionals from the financial and insurance sectors, auditors, real estate agents and developers, persons carrying out a family office activity, notaries and lawyers.
On 1 February 2023, the Luxembourg Business Register announced that all entities registered with the Luxembourg trade and companies register that have made an RBO declaration will be receiving a confidential code allowing them to access their own RBO data and order an RBO extract even though they do not qualify as Professionals.

Following the judgment of the Court of Justice of the European Union of 22 November 2022, access to the Luxembourg register of beneficial owners website via the internet has been temporarily suspended. This judgment, taken on a preliminary ruling from the Luxembourg District Court in a dispute between the beneficial owners of an entity registered in Luxembourg and the Luxembourg Business Register, underlines that access without distinction of user quality, although imposed by the text of Directive (EU) 2018/843 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 30 May 2018 amending Directive (EU) 2015/849 on the prevention of the use of the financial system for the purposes of money laundering or terrorist financing transposed into Luxembourg law, is contrary, in particular, to Articles 7 and 8 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union.

On 12 October 2022, the “Administration de l’enregistrement, des domaines et de la TVA” (AED) released on its website several documents regarding the AML/CFT supervision of Luxembourg alternative investment funds (AIFs) that are not supervised by the “Commission de surveillance du secteur financier”. The AED requires Unregulated AIFs to file the “RR/RC identification form” and file the “AIF AML/CFT Questionnaire 2021” for the financial year ending in 2021 by the close of business on 12 November 2022 at the latest.

On 27 July and 6 September 2022, the Commission de surveillance du secteur financier (CSSF) released a communiqué and a communication in relation to Regulation (EU) 2019/2088 on sustainability-related disclosures in the financial services sector (SFDR) and the upcoming date of application of Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) 2022/1288 of 6 April 2022 supplementing SFDR (SFDR RTS).
The CSSF outlined the deadline of 1 January 2023.
Specific updates of UCITS and AIFs pre-contractual (prospectus/issuing documents) and periodic documents (annual reports) are referred to and the CSSF created an accelerated procedure for the submission of updated pre-contractual documents with templates of confirmation letter that should accompany the filing of a prospectus/issuing documents.

On 31 January 2022, the Commission de Surveillance du Secteur Financier issued a new Circular CSSF 22/795, to confirm in its capacity as competent authority, that it would apply the ESMA guidelines on marketing communications under Regulation (EU) 2019/1156, published on 2 August 2021. As a result, all Luxembourg investment fund managers that are in the scope of application of this Circular shall duly comply with the Guidelines, applicable from 2 February 2022.

On 22 December 2021, the Commission de Surveillance du Secteur Financier (CSSF) published three circulars to improve the risk-based supervision of the CSSF, both for anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) and prudential purposes. Circular 21/788 introduces a mandatory external AML/CFT audit for IFMs while Circular 21/789 and Circular 21/790 introduce new reporting requirements for (i) all authorized IFMs, SIAGs and FIAAGs and (ii) UCITS and UCIs subject to part II of the UCI Law, and SIFs and SICARs respectively.