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ESMA warns retail investors of liquidity risks in alternative investment funds

The European Securities and Markets Authority cautioned that investing in alternative investment funds, or AIFs, entails liquidity risks for retail investors given how much of such funds comprise the total EU fund industry.

The regulator noted that funds of funds and real estate funds have the highest percentage of retail investors at 31% and 21%, respectively. Professional investors currently hold approximately 64% of AIFs, while retail investors hold the remaining 16% — a significant amount.

ESMA's statistical report also showed that the total AIF in the bloc, as measured by net asset value, amounted to €5.8 trillion or about 40% of the total fund industry.

The regulator in September 2019 disclosed final guidelines for the liquidity stress tests of investment funds managers, which should be conducted by Sept. 30.