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Authorisation and supervision

Financial market participants that would like to conduct their business from the Netherlands are welcome. The Dutch supervisory authorities are open to discuss any questions you may have prior to filing a license application.

Financial supervision in the Netherlands

The Netherlands has a twin peaks model of supervision which is comparable to the UK supervisory model with split responsibilities between the Dutch Authority for the Financial Markets (Autoriteit Financiële Markten – AFM) and the Dutch Central Bank (De Nederlandsche Bank – DNB).

In general, the AFM and DNB follow a risk-based supervisory approach towards financial entities. Where applicable, the supervisors work together, and they are allowed to exchange information necessary for supervision. The rules of procedure are laid down in a covenant between AFM and DNB.

AFM and DNB

The AFM carries out conduct of business supervision. The AFM is committed to promoting fair and transparent financial markets. As an independent market conduct authority, the AFM contributes to a sustainable financial system and prosperity in the Netherlands.

DNB carries out the prudential supervision. More information on DNB you can find on www.dnb.nl

Licensing process in the Netherlands

Financial institutions wishing to operate in the Dutch market require an authorisation from the AFM, DNB or the ECB.

  • The AFM issues authorisations to institutions such as investment firms, trading venues, (management companies of) collective investment schemes (AIFMs, UCITS), custodians, depositaries, investment objects, DRSP’s and financial providers.
  • DNB issues authorisations to institutions such as insurers, payment institutions, electronic money institutions, trust offices and clearing institutions. 
  • The ECB issues banking (i.e. credit institutions) authorisations. The authorisation application must be submitted to DNB, which will then process it in close cooperation with the ECB.

Some of the authorisation processes require a mandatory advice of DNB to the AFM and vice versa. This concerns authorisations of payment institutions, investment firms and (management companies of) collective investment schemes, central counterparties, central securities depositories and banking authorisations including investment services. However, a financial institutions will only need to apply for a license at either DNB or AFM.

Language requirements

All communication, including the application, may be conducted in English (including physical meetings). If deemed necessary, e.g. for technical legal reasons, some parts of the communication may have to be supplied in Dutch.

Application requirements

Information and relevant forms regarding the application process as well as the applicable rules and regulations can be found in the Digital portal.

It is also possible to contact us directly. Based on our experience, assistance by an experienced (legal) advisor can be very helpful to expedite the application process.

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