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AFM imposes an administrative fine on DELA for providing misleading information about the Coöperatiespaarplan

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Fine

On 16 April 2014, the Netherlands Authority for the Financial Markets (AFM) imposed an administrative fine of €47.500 (previously €500,000) on DELA Natura- en levensverzekeringen N.V. (DELA). The fine was imposed because in the period of 14 March 2013 to 03 June 2013, DELA provided information concerning the Coöperatiespaarplan from which consumers were unable to deduce that the savings plan is actually an insurance.

Update: On 23 December 2015, the court has upheld the fine, except that the amount of the fine was reduced to €47.500, because the reasonable period of time had been exceeded and because of reduced seriousness of the offence.

 
State of affairs of legal proceedings
Fine imposed Objection Appeal Further appeal
Initiated Decision taken Initiated Judgment given Initiated Judgment given
15-04-2014 22-04- 2014 28-11-2014 (1) 07-01-2015 23-12-2015 (2) None

(1)  The AFM has rejected DELA’s objection and has upheld the decision to impose a fine, while adding the reasons as included in its decision to objection.

(2)  On 23 December 2015, the court has upheld the fine, except for the reduction of the fine to €47.500, because the reasonable period of time had been exceeded and because of reduced seriousness of the offence. 

This took place via the DELA website, via third-party websites, via Google advertisements and via a banner at Muntplein in Amsterdam. This misleading information constitutes an infringement of the Financial Supervision Act (section 4:19, second subsection).

Financial institutions are required to provide consumers with correct, clear and non-misleading information in their communication about financial products. DELA violated this standard in its communication about the Coöperatiespaarplan.

This means that consumers may have been wrong-footed about the type of product and the risks they were running. The fact that the information did not make it sufficiently clear that it actually concerned an insurance could have created the impression among consumers that their contributions were covered by the deposit guarantee scheme. This scheme provides that consumers receive back up to €100,000 of their savings if a bank goes bankrupt. Insurance is not covered by this scheme, however. DELA did provide information about the applicable protection regime in the case of insurance, the so-called relief scheme, but formulated it in a manner that implied greater security than the relief scheme actually provides.

A basic amount of €500,000 applies for this type of infringement. The basic amount can be increased or decreased if the seriousness or duration of the infringement or the degree of culpability give reason to do so. In the present case, the AFM sees no grounds for increasing or reducing the basic amount on the basis of the seriousness of the offence or the culpability. When determining the amount of the fine, the AFM takes into account the size and the financial capacity of the offender. DELA's size and financial capacity are no reason for the AFM to reduce the fine.

Interested parties can submit the AFM's judgment contained in the decision to the courts for review. If you have questions or complaints, please contact the AFM's Financial Markets Information Line: 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.

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