Recently, the Dutch Minister of Finance provided for an update on the implementation of new rules that should tackle the bottlenecks for crowdfunding in the Netherlands. Although the crowdfunding volume significantly increased in 2015 compared to 2014 according to market research, crowdfunding still represents a very small part of total funding.
A package of four measures should stimulate crowdfunding platforms to grow and, at the same time, protect consumers that invest in crowdfunding projects:
- Investment-based crowdfunding platforms that receive and transmit orders from the crowd (generally non-professional investors) in respect of financial instruments issued by project owners will be exempt from the commission ban that currently applies to such platforms. As a result thereof, such platforms will be able to receive commission from project owners.
- The requirements under which a dispensation from the prohibition to provide intermediary services in respect of attracting repayable funds is granted by the AFM to lending-based crowdfunding platforms will be tightened in order to prevent inadequate performance and fraud.
- A new exemption to the prohibition to attract repayable funds from the public will be introduced for crowdfunding project owners.
- The investment restrictions that are currently applied by the AFM for equity based crowdfunding (EUR 20,000) and loan based crowdfunding (EUR 40,00) will be raised to EUR 40,000 and EUR 80,000, respectively. In addition, crowdfunding platforms will be required to conduct an ‘investor test’, i.e. an assessment whether an investment in a crowdfunding project is fit for a consumer.
It is intended that the package of new rules will enter into force on 1 April 2016.