The Brexit process and a possible transition period is surrounded with a lot of uncertainties. The AFM understands the difficulties for UK-based financial institutions regarding the timeline for applying for a licence. The decision for the (timing of the) filing of the application for a licence is of course one to be made by the financial institution itself and at its own risk. The AFM offers guidance in this matter and recommends financial institutions who aim to be licensed in the Netherlands prior to the Brexit date of 29 March 2019, to apply for a licence as soon as practicable but preferably no later than 1 July 2018. The AFM expects to process these applications before 29 March 2019. Please note however, that timely processing an application depends strongly on the quality of the application and the applicant’s timeliness in responding to queries.
Relocating (part of) their activities and timely applying for a licence, would allow UK-based financial institutions to continue their operations in the European Union post-Brexit. The agreement in principle on a transition period until 2020, is not yet definitive and conditional on the conclusion of some sensitive subjects. There is uncertainty whether UK financial institutions can still be active in the EU27 after 29 March 2019. This uncertainty may not be addressed before Q3 of 2018.
What is the process time for a Brexit licence application with the AFM?
Dutch law provides for maximum time frames of 8, 13 or 26 weeks (depending on the nature of the application).
However these legal time frames are put on hold once the AFM asks for missing information. So the length of the application process is strongly influenced by the quality of the application and applicant’s timeliness in responding to the AFM and DNB’s queries. Also, due to a possible spike in applications because of uncertainties around the Brexit process, the actual time frame needed for the assessment of the application for a licence may increase. It is for this reason that the AFM asks for a timely and well-structured application.
How can you apply for a licence at the AFM?
The AFM has a Digital portal where different application forms can be found. The email address that can be used for filing the application is Brexit_Application@afm.nl.
A declaration of no-objection?
Please note that most companies also need to apply for a declaration of no-objection (in Dutch: vvgb - verklaring van geen bezwaar) at the Dutch central bank. More information can be found on the website of the Dutch central bank. The Dutch central bank also recommends applying for a declaration of no-objection, where applicable, as soon as possible. Preferably the application for a licence and for a declaration of no-objection should be done at the same time.
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.