As Niels Bohr once said, prediction is very difficult, especially if it is about the future. However, one hardly needs the gift of prophecy to predict that there will be more amendments of financial markets laws in 2017.

New powers for regulators

In December 2016, the Dutch government adopted a draft bill confirming that supervisors will be given more power to issue public warnings. The Netherlands Authority for the Financial Markets (AFM) and the Dutch Central Bank (DNB) will also be able to publish the names of individual institutions when publishing the results of their investigations. The draft bill also proposes giving DNB the power to publish core figures of banks if certain conditions are met.

Higher fines for market abuse

The decree implementing the remaining provisions of the European Market Abuse Regulation is expected to enter into force soon. Fines for serious infringements of the market abuse provisions will then be raised; the maximum fine for serious infringements will be EUR 5 million and, as a result, the maximum fine for repeat infringements will be EUR 10 million. For large enterprises, the fine will be up to 10% of net annual turnover. For infringement of certain provisions of the Market Abuse Regulation this maximum fine can be raised to EUR 15 million or (for large enterprises) 15% of net annual turnover. Please see the December 2016 In context for a summary of the proposal.

Crowdfunding, automated advice, calculation of shares

The following amendments are expected to take effect on 1 July:

  • Employees who give advice to clients about a general pension fund or the voluntary affiliation to a sector-wide pension fund must have a diploma. 
  • Financial institutions offering automated advice must ensure that the advice satisfies the same requirements as advice provided by an individual. 
  • Funds in investment accounts must be used exclusively to build up capital; clients of investment firms that manage portfolios may not use part of this amount to pay advisors or intermediaries. The scope of the inducements ban will be extended to this effect. 
  • The Ministry of Finance has clarified that the exception to the inducements ban currently available to crowdfunding platforms also applies to equity crowdfunding.
  • Shares will have to be calculated in the same manner as votes, that is, as prescribed by Delegated Regulation (EU) 2015/761.

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