On 29 August 2011, the Netherlands Authority for the Financial Markets (AFM) imposed an administrative fine of € 6,000 on DVHHB B.V. (DVHHB), at the time trading under the name Huis & Hypotheek Beverwijk, for providing unsuitable advice when concluding mortgage loan agreements and payment protectors.
DVHHB is a financial service provider that brokers, inter alia, mortgage loans and payment protectors. A payment protector (also known as: credit protection insurance) covers the risk that the consumer is unable to comply with payment obligations pursuant to a loan agreement, for example as a result of occupational disability or unemployment.
The AFM has found violations in 5 of the 6 investigated client files of DVHHB from the period of 27 April 2009 to 6 July 2009. In 4 of the 6 files, DVHHB recommended one or more payment protectors in addition to a mortgage loan. When advising on a mortgage loan and payment protectors, DVHHB failed to obtain sufficient information concerning the consumer's financial position, objective(s), willingness to accept risk, knowledge and/or experience.
The AFM has established that, based on the information in the files, it cannot be determined that the conclusion of the loan and/or the payment protector was in the interest of the consumer. As DVHHB did not obtain sufficient information from the consumer, it was consequently unable to base its advice partly on this information. In addition, the AFM has observed that DVHHB did not base its advice in all cases on the information that it did obtain from its clients.
This means, in the opinion of the AFM, that DVHHB has acted in violation of Article 4:23, first paragraph, parts a and b, of the Financial Supervision Act (Wft). The Wft obliges financial enterprises to provide consumers with appropriate advice. They are therefore required to obtain information concerning the consumer and to base the advice (in part) on this information.
The Penalty Scheme in Financial Legislation (Amendment) Act (new penalty act) and the Decree on Administrative Fines in Financial Legislation (Decree on Administrative Fines) entered into effect on 1 August 2009. The old penalty act and the Decree on Penalties under the Wft apply, as the violation commenced before 1 August 2009.
DVHHB has not held an AFM licence since 5 July 2010.
Interested parties can submit the AFM's judgment contained in the decision to the competent court for review.
If you have any questions or comments you can contact the Financial Markets Information Line on: 0800-5400 540 (free of charge).
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