The Minister of Finance is conducting a consultation on the Financial Markets Amendment Bill 2014. The proposed commencement date of the Bill is 1 January 2014. The changes proposed relate, among other things, to:
General duty of care for financial service providers
- A new provision will be added to the Financial Markets Supervision Act (FMSA) requiring financial service providers to exercise due care at all times in dealing with their clients' interests. The Minister of Finance has stated that the introduction of this general duty of care will enable the AFM to take action before a consumer has incurred any damage. As a general principle, the AFM will continue to act on the basis of existing, specific regulations for financial service providers and take action on the basis of the general duty of care only in exceptional situations.
- The Financial Reporting Supervision Act (FRSA) allows the AFM to ask for additional information if it is unsure whether the financial reporting of a securities issuer complies with the requirements mentioned in section 2 (1) FRSA. When the AFM believes that an issuer insufficiently cooperates with the AFM's request for an explanation, the AFM may ask the Enterprise Chamber to order the issuer to provide the explanation. Currently, the AFM may only do this if its request for information concerns an issuer which has its corporate seat in the Netherlands. The Bill also enables the AFM to apply to the Enterprise Chamber for an order to any issuer supervised by the AFM.
- The Bill allows the AFM to pass data and information received in the fulfilment of its tasks under the FRSA to the International Organisation of Securities Commissions (IOSCO).
Exchange of information within the Financial Expertise Centre
- The Financial Expertise Centre (FEC) aims to safeguard and reinforce the integrity of the financial sector. To promote cooperation between the Dutch Central Bank, the AFM and other agencies such as the public prosecution service and the tax authorities within the FEC, the Bill allows the Dutch Central Bank and the AFM to share certain confidential information. The confidentiality requirements set out in the FMSA currently prevent sharing such information.
Other relevant changes:
- The Accountancy Profession Act will be amended to promote correct enforcement of the prohibition against unauthorised use of an accountant's title or representation as an accountant. The current criminal law enforcement will be replaced by administrative law enforcement. Two amendments are proposed in respect of disciplinary proceedings for accountants. The statutory limitation period of three years is amended so that the limitation period will only commence once the complainant becomes aware of the nature of the accountant's conduct. In addition, the Accountancy Division becomes competent to deal with disciplinary matters ex officio.