There have been many developments in national and European financial markets regulation during the past month. Among other things, the Dutch Central bank published guidance on the bonus cap exemption for holding companies, and amendments were agreed to the Anti Money-Laundering Directive. In this article, we provide a brief overview of these and other developments.
Holding companies of international financial groups exempt from Dutch 20% bonus cap
The Dutch Central Bank has issued guidance clarifying that holding companies of international financial groups are exempt from the Dutch 20% bonus cap. The guidance makes the Netherlands a more attractive domicile for European holding companies of financial groups. For more information, see our Legal alert.
Public consulted about ban on advertising certain “harmful” financial products
After announcing a ban on the advertising of certain financial products last year, the Dutch Minister of Finance has now launched a consultation on this subject. He proposes giving the Dutch financial markets supervisor (AFM) the power to designate financial products as subject to the advertising ban. The Dutch Market Conduct Supervision Decree will be amended accordingly. The consultation runs until 20 March.
The AFM has also launched its own consultation on the proposed ban. The supervisor explains that some products may be harmful because consumers can lose their investment very quickly, while over the long term there is little prospect of making a profit. According to the AFM, these products are being aggressively marketed to consumers on a large scale. Therefore, the AFM therefore intends to make the following investment products subject to the ban:
In addition, the ban will also apply to short-term loans with a very high rate of interest and also to longer-term loans carrying excessive rates of interest.
The consultation runs until 3 April.
Anti money-laundering: access for EU citizens to data about beneficial owners
The Economic and Monetary Affairs and Civil Liberties committees of the European Parliament have agreed to amend the Anti Money-Laundering Directive. The amendment provides EU citizens with access rights to registers of beneficial owners of companies without having to demonstrate a “legitimate interest”. This will allow, for example, journalists and lobbyists to access these registers. The amendment also brings virtual currency platforms, custodian wallet providers, trusts and “other types of legal arrangements having a structure or functions similar to trusts”, within the scope of the Directive. Also, the threshold at which identification requirements are triggered has been lowered from EUR 250 to EUR 150 to discourage the use of anonymous pre-paid instruments, such as pre-paid cards. Other measures that have been agreed in the Committee include introducing centralised bank and payment account registers in member states, harmonising the checks that banks and financial institutions make across the EU and easing the flow of information between member states’ financial intelligence units.
Implementation of the Market Abuse Regulation
The Minister of Finance has published a draft decree that will complete implementation of the European Market Abuse Regulation (MAR) in the Netherlands. Please also see our In context article ‘Implementation of Market Abuse Regulation enters final phase’.
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