This decree is expected to come into effect on 1 January 2013. Following the consultation held earlier this year, the Minister of Finance has clarified and amended a number of provisions:
- The decree contains new competence requirements for staff at financial undertakings who advise customers. The consultation has led to changes in professional qualification requirements and corresponding assessment criteria.
- The decree authorises the AFM to supervise and regulate the product development process at financial undertakings. Following the consultation, the Minister decided that this would not apply to UCITs, as these undertakings are already subject to strict product requirements. The Minister has also clarified that "old" financial products do not have to meet the latest standards at every future date.
- The consultation has led to a few changes in the dispute resolution provisions set out in the decree.
- The decree imposes further transparency requirements on mortgage credit providers. Following the consultation, the maximum "loan-to-value" ratio will be reduced in six stages to 100% from 1 January 2013.
- The decree provides that a consumer or client must pay his adviser or intermediary directly for advice on and mediation in certain financial products. It also requires financial service providers to make a service provision document available to the consumer or client. As a result of the consultation, these provisions will take effect on 1 July 2013 rather than 1 January 2013.
- The decree explicitly provides that investments in the production, sale or distribution of cluster ammunition will be regarded as conduct lacking in the requisite integrity in carrying on a business. Following the consultation, an extra provision has been included that this ban will apply not only to investments in a company that actually produces, sells or distributes cluster ammunition, but also to investments in entities that hold more than 50% of the shares in such a company.
No changes have been made to the provisions in the decree with regard to the banker's oath. This means that all employees of financial undertakings will have to give an oath or promise after the expected commencement date of 1 January 2013. This also applies to persons working under the responsibility of the undertaking, e.g. people on secondment. But persons who are not involved in the undertaking's core activities, such as receptionists and catering staff, will be exempt.