Hello my name is Floortje Nagekerke. I am a financial services partner in the Amsterdam office. I will provide you with an update on the measures taken by the Dutch financial regulators. In the Netherlands, we have two financial regulators. One is the AFM, who is responsible for supervising compliance of financial institutions with conduct of business rules, and second is the Dutch Central Bank who is responsible for supervising compliance with the prudential rules and regulations. Over the last couple of weeks, both regulators have published several measures but I think that the most important takeaway there is that they always seem to reiterate and follow the measures taken or recommendations made by European regulatory bodies such as the EBA, ESMA and AOPA.
The first important measure taken by the Dutch Central Bank was a capital relief measure. This means that the Dutch Central Bank lowered certain capital buffers for banks in order to enable banks to provide additional financing to the economy.
The second measure related to postponement of and deadlines relating to reporting. So financial institutions have, on an ongoing basis, reporting obligations towards the regulator so certain deadlines have been postponed but also in relation to the publication of the annual accounts.
The third measure or recommendation that was being made was that insurance companies and banks should not pay out any dividends or buy back shares during this crisis. The AFM has emphasised that they expect that insurance companies and intermediaries will take the customers’ interests into account and will them fairly taking the circumstances into account. This means that they expect that customers will be provided with clear and adequate communication, for instance contingency measures that have been taken, and consequences of this crisis in relation to certain products and services that have been being provided. Also, they do expect that these companies provide on a continuous basis service to these clients. Also they expect that certain product reviews will be taken in the meantime and that also again here the crisis and the consequences will be taken into account in those reviews and maybe if required or necessary certain amendments should be made.
Both regulators also said that they will not send out large data requests. This is in order to have the financial institutions focus on say business as usual or business continuity. The AFM has stressed that certain investigations such as in relation to money laundering will just go ahead and certain data requests may be expected there. They also do say that they trust that financial institutions will provide input to the regulators in order if there are any problems. Also they say that they are in close contact with financial institutions such as the AFM has done a round to the asset managers and fund managers. They have asked all kinds of questions in relation to liquidity measures taken in relation to funds that they manage.
On a final note, they do emphasise that the financial institutions should be very vigilant in relation to money laundering. Apparently new structures and methods have already occurred.
I hope this was really useful and that you keep well.