On 27 March 2012, the Netherlands Authority for the Financial Markets (AFM) imposed an administrative fine of €6,000 on Landbouw Samenwerking Noord Nederland B.V. (LSNN). The company (also) offered investments from 27 March 2009 to 30 September 2009 without holding the required licence. The AFM mitigated the fine from €96,000 to €24,000.
LSNN has, together with another company owned by the same party, offered parcels of land for sale to consumers via a website and a brochure. In doing so, it speculated on a value increase of the land as a result of a change to the zoning plan. It therefore contained a promise of a return on investment. In addition, the management of the land could be performed by a party other than the investor.
The legislator and the AFM consider these services to be an offer of investments. This requires a licence according to the Financial Supervision Act. The AFM pointed out the licence obligation with respect to offering investments in land via its website in December 2008 and in May 2010 and at other times.
It is important that financial service providers hold and AFM licence. A licence offers protection to consumers. Before the AFM grants a licence, it first checks, inter alia, whether a financial service provider satisfies the requirements of reliability, expertise and integrity. Moreover, a service provider that holds a licence has to comply with the so-called continuous rules of conduct. These concern, inter alia, careful services to consumers.
LSNN stopped offering investments as of 1 October 2009. Interested parties may submit the AFM's decision to the court for evaluation.
If you have any questions or comments you can contact the Financial Markets Information Line on: 0800-5400 540 (free of charge).
The AFM is committed to promoting fair and transparent financial markets.
As an independent market conduct authority, we contribute to a sustainable financial system and prosperity in the Netherlands.