The first Ucits vehicle, The World Capital fund, rolled off the production line in Luxembourg 25 years ago on Friday.

A quarter of a century on, Europe’s pre-eminent fund structure has ballooned to a €6tn industry, with 36,000 funds sold in more than 70 countries, including much of Asia and Latin America.

However, industry figures warn the brand faces a series of challenges if it is to escape a period of stagnation that has seen its market share slide since 1992, both globally and in Europe. Here Ucits funds accounted for 72 per cent of fund assets last year, down from 82 per cent 20 years earlier, according to the European Fund and Asset Management Association.

The share of Ucits funds in the financial assets of European households has “stagnated” for almost two decades, warned Wolfgang Mansfeld, a former president of Efama, with the bulk of inflows coming from institutional investors and from outside Europe.

Writing in Ucits XXV, a publication produced by the Ucits XXV initiative to mark the anniversary, Mr Mansfeld said there was an “urgent” need for a level playing field with pension funds and insurance products, in terms of regulation as well as taxation.

The industry also appears rattled by fears that Asia may develop an indigenous fund brand, partly in response to the growing complexity of some Ucits vehicles.

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