02.33 – Fund Nominees – Distributors in chain of legal ownership

Distributors that hold legal title to assets on behalf of customers and are part of the legal chain of ownership of interests in Collective Investment Schemes are Financial Institutions. In most cases, they will be Custodial Institutions because they will be holding assets on behalf of others.

In considering whether such a distributor meets the condition requiring 20 percent of the entity’s gross income to derive from holding financial assets and from related financial services, consideration should be given as to whether the income derived from acting as nominee arises in another group company, or whether income is derived from commission, discounts or other sources.

Fund nominees, fund intermediaries and fund platforms will nevertheless still be Financial Institutions because they would otherwise be within the definition of Investment Entity. In this case the Financial Accounts will be the Financial Accounts maintained by the distributor, and the distributor will be responsible for ensuring it meets its obligations in respect of those accounts.

HMRC will treat fund nominees, fund intermediaries and fund platforms as Custodial Institutions unless specific factors indicate that their businesses are better characterised as falling within the definition of an Investment Entity. Normally, the primary business of a fund nominee, fund intermediary or fund platform will be to hold financial assets for the accounts of others.

For the purpose of aggregating accounts to determine whether any Pre-existing Custodial Accounts are below the de minimis threshold, a Custodial Institution will need to consider all the Financial Accounts of its customers without reference to whether the customers underlying interests are in different Collective Investment Schemes.