SICAV is an abbreviation of the French term investment company with variable capital or the Italian term società di capitale investimento a variabile and refers to an investment company incorporated under French, Belgian, Luxembourg, Swiss, Maltese or Italian law with variable capital.

The share capital of the Company is in contrast to a stock corporation (AG ) is not fixed, but fluctuates depending on the invested capital. It is understood from the principle that a SICAV may at any time issue new shares at the net asset value and thus increased its share capital. Downside to this is the principle right at any time of the investor to be able to sell shares at the net asset value of the SICAV. This in turn decreases the share capital. Because of these entry and exit ways a SICAV is also referred to as open-ended collective investment, as opposed to closed-ended collective investment scheme.

The purpose of a SICAV is limited is to invest the capital in securities, to use the principle of risk spreading. It is comparable to a German investment company with variable share capital ( § 104 et seq Investment Act ) which is registered under the Investment Law. Is regulated SICAV under Luxembourg law by the Law of 20 December 2002 on undertakings for collective investment and the law of 13 February 2007 on specialized investment funds ( SIF Law ). The Federal Act on Collective Investment Schemes of 23 June 2006 (Collective Investment Schemes Act, CISA ) and its regulations are relevant for Switzerland.

In contrast to a German investment company, respectively, a Swiss Investment Fund, the SICAV is not a fund but an independent legal entity. A SICAV has its own administration, consisting at least of the Board. Normally the daily business is outsourced to an investment manager and an administrator (or other service providers). The Directors control in this situation mainly the external service provider. Only a tiny number of SICAV has hired staff.

A SICAV may have a so-called Umbrella Fund Subfund several ( sub- funds). These are the extent legally independent, participate as an investor only on that Subfund into which they have invested and insolvency of a Subfund leaves the other Sub unaffected. However, there are all sub-funds under the control of the Board of Directors of the SICAV.

One of the SICAV related form of society is the SICAFs investment company with fixed capital. SICAFs under Swiss law is contrary to the SICAV formally a limited company under Swiss Code of Obligations, for the particular further rules were established in the Collective Investment Schemes Act. Your capital is therefore not variable, but as a public company fix.

In addition to the SICAV and the SICAFs there under Luxembourg law nor the hard to find the form of the SICAR ( sociétés d' investissement en capital à risque ), which is important in special tasks of venture capital financing.