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Digitally connecting investors with their assets
Insights - What We Think

[Link Group] [Company Matters]

Spencer Lamb | Fund Director

In the UK, we are unique.

We offer all the principal fund services for investment trusts, including fund administration and accounting, company secretary, registrar and Alternative Investment Fund Manager.

Our seamless services give investment managers clear and full ownership through cross-service co-operation and multiple specialist units. This avoids issues of outsourcing from various service providers and disputes behind service demarcation lines.

We understand the challenges investment managers face, especially regulatory complexity and change. Our clients’ priority is to ensure their investors have a seamless, transparent and simple journey and can understand and access their assets quickly and easily.

What is the European Single Electronic Format (ESEF)?

ESEF is a new regulatory requirement across Europe that brings financial reporting into the digital age.

It’s the latest standard for digital reporting by companies who are admitted to trading on EU and UK-regulated markets.

As part of our accounting services, we produce our clients’ annual financial reports. ESEF requires that companies release annual financial reports, for periods beginning 1 January 2021, in a ‘structured’ format.

The ESEF regulation is to ensure that certain sections of the annual accounts are ‘machine-readable’ i.e., readable using specialist software tools as well as by humans. ESEF requires issuers to ‘tag’ disclosures using structured data formatting processes. These XHTML documents look the same to the lay reader but can also be analysed by computers.

ESEF requires:

  • All annual financial reports be submitted in a XHMTL format (readable for humans and on any web browser)
  • Taxonomy for hierarchical structure and classification (compliant with technical and legal requirements)

Tagging requirements

ESEF enables investors and other stakeholders to access, analyse and compare information within the annual financial report – quickly, transparently and easily – and to give a true and fair view of the company’s financial position.

Tagging will be a requirement for all relevant companies, including investment trusts, from 1 January 2022 i.e., for companies’ financial years starting on or after 1 January 2021.

As part of our suite of services, we can simply add this tagging service to our existing contracts with clients.

This saves them time, money and complexity as there’s no need to outsource to a separate party. Our clients can rely on us, their trusted partner, as we already understand them and their specific needs.

Who does ESEF apply to?

In the UK, the ESEF regulation applies to all companies with securities admitted to trading on a regulated market. This includes companies listed on the Main Market of the London Stock Exchange and the Specialist Funds Segment, but not AIM.

The rules apply whether the company is incorporated in the UK or not and the requirement doesn’t change the content of annual reports.

UK companies are affected despite Brexit as the FCA has committed to ESEF and incorporate the new standards into the Disclosure Guidance and Transparency Rules (DTR).

The UK introduced a requirement for companies to tag and file their tax returns in electronic format (iXBRL) from March 2011, but the existing iXBRL tax filing arrangements don’t provide a solution to the ESEF.

Alongside ESEF, all other UK requirements still need to be met (including hard copy reports for shareholders who request it).

Link Group can do this heavy lifting for fund managers so they can focus on what they do best – taking care of investors.

Facts about us:

  • We have £440bn of assets under management across the globe
  • The largest fund administrator to Australian superannuation schemes
  • The largest UK Authorised Corporate Director
  • One of the UK’s top three registrars
  • One of oldest fund administrators to the UK investment trust sector
  • Proven track record with over 35 years of experience
  • Provide registrar services to 40% of all UK listed companies
  • Service over 50% of real estate investment trusts (REITs)

Contact us to find out how we can help you meet ESEF requirements for your investors.

Spencer Lamb

Fund Director