Frequently asked questions about the InnovationHub

Frequently asked questions - InnovationHub

Does the InnovationHub also give advice?

We are here to give you informal guidance. The InnovationHub aims to provide market participants with quick and adequate support. This also means that communications are informal; we do not aim to provide formal opinions or detailed advice. You are of course free to ask for a formal opinion, for example by submitting questions about the scope of particular legislation through the regular channels.

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When will I get my answer?

We aim to respond to your questions within two business days. The level of detail of our answer depends on the nature of your question. Depending on your question, we may invite you to discuss it at our offices. If a simple answer suffices, we may contact you by telephone or email.

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Who is the InnovationHub intended for?

The InnovationHub is the AFM and DNB's information desk for questions on the application of rules and regulations for financial enterprises developing innovative financial products, services or business models. The Innovationhub is the access point for all your questions especially if there is or seems to be a question of unnecessarily prohibitive rules for innovations in the financial sector.

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Can representatives of licensed institutions (e.g. business units or compliance) also turn to the InnovationHub?

You can also turn to the InnovationHub with questions on the supervision of innovative financial products and services if you already have a licence. We are here to help if you are unsure about the supervisor's opinion when developing innovative concepts. Contacting the InnovationHub at an early stage of development may help you to clarify things.

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To which supervisor do I have to turn?

If you are in doubt as to ask the AFM or DNB for an answer to your question, please let us know in the contact form. The AFM and DNB are in close contact about the questions coming in to the InnovationHub. Based on your question, we will decide which supervisor is best equipped to answer it. So it is important that you formulate your question as precisely as possible in order for us to make the correct judgement.

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Are any other supervisory authorities involved in the InnovationHub?

The Authority for Consumers & Markets (ACM) has also been involved in the InnovationHub since 1 June 2017. You can use the contact form (in Dutch) to put your questions and observations with respect to competition rules directly to the ACM.


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Which information is useful to share when putting questions to the InnovationHub?

The better defined your question and the attached information is, the better we can advise you. Some things to consider are the effect of your innovative concept, its innovative element, your own ideas on the applicable regulations, and the problem areas that you anticipate.

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Are investment services relating to cryptocurrencies subject to supervision in the Netherlands?

We are observing a growing interest in activities related to cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin. Although their names seem to suggest otherwise, these products are not currencies in the sense of legal tender, i.e. they are not money. Neither are they financial products, meaning that buying and selling of cryptocurrencies (or brokerage of these services), or providing services relating to custody or management of balances in cryptocurrencies are not subject to regulation under the Financial Supervision Act.

Such activities may nevertheless bring their providers within the scope of the Financial Supervision Act, for instance if the person buying or selling or taking into custody or managing cryptocurrencies invites from the general public (other than professional market operators) deposits or other repayable funds. This may also happen if customers are enabled to convert into cash their cryptocurrency holdings with cryptocurrency service providers. Article 3:5 of the Financial Supervision Act, however, prohibits anyone in the Netherlands who is not a bank from inviting from the public, acquiring or holding repayable funds in the pursuit of business.

The Financial Supervision Act also applies if an institution wants to offer units in investment institutions that invest in cryptocurrencies. Under Article 2:65 of the Financial Supervision Act, it is prohibited to manage a Dutch investment institution, or offer investment units in a Dutch investment institution without the manager holding the necessary licence issued by the AFM, or if it concerns an investment institution that has no separate manager, without the investment institution holding the necessary licence issued by the AFM.

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What is the AFM's opinion on disintermediation in the context of innovation?

Disintermediation is a frequently used concept in FinTech publications. Parties are increasingly focusing on a very specific section of the value chain with the aim of digitally innovating this particular section. The AFM and DNB observe this in actual practice and the activities of these parties often involve intermediation. For example:  A financial enterprise engages the services of a FinTech company to collect relevant data for extending a mortgage loan. The FinTech company collects the data for the consumer at the financial enterprise's request and delivers it – with the consumer's consent – to the mortgage loan provider. This involves professional intermediation activities with the objective of establishing an agreement. Please consult the AFM's website for more information.

In addition to contributing to the establishment of an agreement, assisting in managing and executing the agreement are also considered intermediation activities.  We realise that this substantially broadens the definition of intermediation. The question is which FinTech activities are included in the definition and which are not. This is currently a "grey" area, as the legislature has so far not regulated such activities. The AFM is looking into this and will issue more information on its website in due course.

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When can DNB provide more detailed information about the licensing requirements for new PSD2 services?

In September 2017, we will be able to shed more light on the licensing requirements under PSD2. Please note that this is subject to the transposition of national and European legislation. You can find the most recent information about PSD2 on the PSD2 Open Book on Supervision page on our website. We recommend that you check this page regularly.

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