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About the Netherlands Authority For the Financial Markets

The Netherlands Authority for the Financial Markets (AFM) has been responsible for supervising the operation of the financial markets since 1 March 2002. This means that AFM supervises the conduct of the entire financial market sector: savings, investment, insurance and loans. By supervising the conduct of the financial markets, AFM aims to make a contribution to the efficient operation of these markets.

The efficient operation of the securities markets is a matter of public importance. The public, business and government depend on financial products that are offered in the markets for many of their activities. Confidence in the fair and orderly operation of those markets is vital and for this reason it is very important that the proper operation of these markets is supervised.

AFM is the successor of the STE (Securities Board of the Netherlands / Stichting Toezicht Effectenverkeer), which supervised all of the participants in the securities trade. The establishment of AFM is a result of the policy document 'Review of the supervision of the financial market sector' ('Herziening van het toezicht op de financiële marktsector') of the Ministry of Finance. Accordingly, sector-based supervision has been replaced by function-based supervision, which is divided into prudential supervision and supervision of market conduct.

Prudential supervision addresses the question of whether participants in the financial markets can rely on their contracting parties being able to meet their financial obligations. The Dutch Central Bank (De Nederlandsche Bank) is, after the merger with the Pensions and Insurance Board (Pensioen- & Verzekeringskamer) in 2004, responsible for prudential supervision. The supervision of market conduct focuses on the question of whether the participants in the financial markets are handled properly and whether they have accurate information. This supervision is the responsibility of AFM.

Professional parties are familiar with the laws and regulations that apply in the financial markets and the conditions that they have to satisfy in order to participate in the market. It is often more difficult for the public to obtain such information. On this web site you can read about what AFM does, what supervision means and what requirements financial institutions have to comply with in order to be permitted to participate in the financial markets. This site also provides information to help you to avoid unnecessary risks.

Supervision of the financial markets is well organised in the Netherlands, but just as the traffic police cannot prevent every accident, so AFM cannot guarantee that every participant will always exercise due care.