Under Maltese law, CISs may be established in various legal forms (subject to certain regulatory restrictions applicable to Maltese UCITS), in particular the following:
- an investment company with variable share capital (“SICAV”) in terms of the Companies Act, which may be either a public or a private limited liability company;
- an investment company with fixed share capital (“INVCO”) in terms of the Companies Act, which per definition is a public limited liability company;
- a limited partnership (or partnership en commandite) (“LP”);
- a unit trust in terms of the Trust and Trustees Act;
A CIS may qualify as a UCITS scheme. UCITS schemes may be set up as unit trusts, or open-ended investment companies. Local laws transposing the UCITS III directives apply the administrative requirements relating to UCITS whereas non-UCITS schemes are governed by other discretionary local laws and guidelines.
One important consideration to take into account when determining the legal structure is that SICAVs and INVCOs enjoy separate judicial personality whilst Unit trusts and Limited Partnerships are non-corporate forms.