Comparative Guides

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4. Results: Answers
Does the fintech sector present any specific challenges or concerns from a competition perspective? Are there any pro-competition measures that are targeted specifically at fintech companies?

Answer ... As a small country with a relatively limited number of incumbents, in particular banks, the Netherlands has welcomed the arrival of fintech players, as this is increasing competition in the financial sector.

In 2017 the Dutch competition authority, the Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM), expressed concerns about the exclusion of fintech companies from the financial markets, especially in the payment industry ( Dutch banks enjoy a very strong position in the Netherlands. Although customers are not necessarily perfectly satisfied with the manner in which their banks provide their services, they are very loyal. The second Payment Services Directive (PSD2) is expected to transform the payments sector across Europe, including in the Netherlands. Developments such as access to the account may make the provision of services faster, more consumer friendly and less costly. However, Dutch account holders place a high level of trust in their respective banks and do not as yet have the same level of confidence in the fintech companies that are offering new PSD2 services.

While the ACM has voiced its concerns, no specific pro-competition measures have as yet been implemented at a national level. The opposite effect has resulted from recent money-laundering scandals in which some Dutch banks were involved and subsequently issued with warnings by the Dutch Central Bank. As a result of these warnings, among other things, Dutch banks generally no longer accept fintech companies that offer crypto-related services.

For more information about this answer please contact: Sanne Machiels from FG Lawyers