The Belgian insurance sector has been subject to the MiFID I1 conduct of business rules since 1 May 2015.

This roll-out of MiFID to the insurance sector, commonly known as AssurMiFID, was one of the objectives of the Twin Peaks II Law of 30 July 2013, by which the Belgian legislator wanted to create a level playing field for the selling practices of all investment products and for consumer protection rules. As such, the Law of 2013 and its implementing Royal Decrees (see text box), expand the scope of the MiFID I conduct of business requirements to insurance companies (including their tied agents) and insurance intermediaries acting in Belgium.

It was clear from the start that the impact of this legislation on the strategy, products and operations of insurance companies and intermediaries would be very high (see further). The impact in practice was increased by the very challenging timeline through which the new regulatory framework was imposed on the insurance sector (i.e. implementation of the new framework by 30 April 2014, merely a couple of months following the publication of the Royal Decrees). This also led to a decision2 of the Constitutional Court delaying the entry into force with one year (to 1 May 2015).

The AssurMiFID regulatory framework:
  • The Twin Peaks II law (TP II), dated 30 July 2013
  • Part IV of the Insurance Law of 2014
  • The three implementing Royal Decrees, dated 21 February 2014
  • The Circular Letter of the Financial Services and Markets Authority (FSMA), dated 16th of April 2014, and revised in September 2015, to include additional guidelines with regard to record keeping requirements.
Following an appeal of a sector association against the AssurMiFID regulation, the Constitutional Court delayed the entry into force with one year to 1 May 2015.

On the date of this article, we are awaiting the finalisation of the regulatory framework, as certain aspects, included in AssurMiFID, relating to reporting and cost and charges transparency, still have to be implemented further. For these areas, the legislator aims to align with other European regulatory initiatives like PRIIPs.

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1 Directive 2004/39/EC of 21 April 2004 on markets in financial instruments amending Council Directives 85/611/EEC and 93/6/EEC and Directive 2000/12/EC and repealing Council Directive 93/22/EEC

2 Decision of the Consitutional Court of 11 June 2015, Role number 5871, Arrest nr. 86/2015

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