FAQ

FAQ Overview

    • When does the present data protection policy apply?
    • Who is the controller of the personal data?
    • What personal data do we process ?
    • What are the purposes of and basis for our use of your personal data?
    • For how much time will we store your personal data?
    • With whom do we share your data?
    • Does the FSMA process your data outside the European economic area?
    • How do we protect your personal data?
    • What about links to other websites and to social media?
    • What are your rights and how can you exercise them?
    • How can you be updated as to any amendments to this data protection policy?
    • How can you contact us?
    • When does the present Data Protection policy apply?
    • Who is the controller of the personal data?
    • What personal data do we process?
    • What are the purposes of and basis for our use of your personal data?
    • For how much time will we store your personal data?
    • With whom do we share your data?
    • Does the FSMA process your data outside the European economic area?
    • How do we protect your personal data?
    • What about links to other websites and to social media?
    • What are your rights and how can you exercise them?
    • How can you be updated as to any amendments to this data protection policy?
    • How can you contact us?
    • When does the present cookie policy apply?
    • What are cookies?
    • How do we use cookies?
    • How can you manage cookies?
    • How can you be updated as to any amendments to this cookie policy?
    • How can you contact us? (cookies)
    • What is the Whistleblowers' Point of contact?
    • Who can submit a report?
    • Can you report anonymously?
    • What protection do you enjoy as a whistleblower?
    • What procedures apply to reports?
    • What confidentiality regime applies?
    • What information can you report via the Whistleblowers' Point of contact?
    • What kind of feedback can you expect from the FSMA?
    • How can you submit a report?
    • Treatment of personal data

Public procurement

Takeover bids and the MAR

    • 1. When does a potential bidder have to announce his/her intention to launch a bid?
    • 2. What information has to be included in a press release in which the potential offeror announces his/her intention to launch a bid?
    • 3. When does notification have to be made of transactions in securities carrying voting rights or conferring access to voting rights in the offeree company, the offeror or the company whose securities are being offered by way of consideration?
    • 4. Do the provisions regarding the obligation to disclose any inside information to the public apply in the context of the preparation of a takeover bid?
    • 5. Does the legislation governing market abuse offer a legal framework for an offeror's negotiations regarding its takeover bid?
    • 6. May an offeror still buy securities in the offeree company during the preparation of a takeover bid, in order to strengthen its position within the shareholdership (also known as stake-building)?
Moratorium

General questions on the purpose of the moratorium

    • 1. Why is the FSMA taking this initiative?
    • 2. What products are affected?
    • 3. How does the moratorium work in practice?
    • 4. How can one determine whether a structured product is 'particularly complex'?
    • 5. How are the four criteria applied?
    • 6. What happens to the structured products that are already on the market?
    • 7. Will this initiative eliminate risky products?
    • 8. Why do some products with capital protection also fall under the moratorium?
    • 9. Why is the initiative limited to structured products?
    • 10. Why a voluntary moratorium rather than a ban?
    • 11. What if the moratorium is not observed?
    • 12. How long will the moratorium last?
    • 13. Where can I, as a professional, go for more information?

Technical questions relating to the provisions of the moratorium

    • 1. Does the moratorium apply to structured products for which the distribution period began before 1 August 2011?
    • 2. What procedure does the FSMA use to assess a distributor's compliance with the moratorium?
    • 3. What about an issuer whose products are distributed by a third-party distributor?
    • 4. Does the moratorium apply to the trading of structured products on a secondary market?
    • 5. Must a product mention the name of the issuer?
    • 6. What is the scope of the concept of 'distribution'?
    • 7. Does the moratorium apply to discretionary portfolio management or private placements?
    • 8. Does the moratorium apply to products purchased solely at the client's initiative?
    • 9. What is the definition of retail investor and how should the EUR 500,000 limit be interpreted when applying the opt-out?
    • 10. When is a securities index considered to have sufficient renown, track record and transparency and when does a securities index serve as a benchmark?
    • 11. When is the selection of shares or the customized index sufficiently diversified?
    • 12. What information must be provided during the lifetime of the product regarding the composition of the share selection or of the customized index?
    • 13. How is the balance between sharing profits and losses assessed?
    • 14. When does a minimal change in the performance of the underlying value have a disproportionate impact?
    • 15. What is the meaning of 'overly complex strategies where the capital protection is conditional'?
    • 16. What mechanisms are considered to be to the clients' advantage and hence not taken into account for determining the number of mechanisms?
    • 17. When is there sufficient transparency regarding costs?
    • 18. What is meant by an important change in the risk profile or the value of the product?
    • 19. Who are the 'holders of the product' who must be informed?
    • 20. What is involved in the distributor's commitment, upon signing on to the moratorium, to submit its marketing materials voluntarily to the FSMA, and how is this done in practice?
    • 21. Does the distributor's commitment to submit the value of the savings and derivative component to the FSMA before beginning distribution also apply to products distributed to clients under the opt-out?
    • 22. Are all entities with a distribution channel that is part of the same group required to participate in the moratorium?
    • 23. When is an interest rate accessible?
    • 24. Must intermediaries in banking and investment services who are exclusively tied to a central institution, and who are not insurance brokers, make a decision whether or not to sign on to the moratorium?
    • 25. How often will the FSMA publish answers to questions of general relevance posed by the sector?
    • 26. What is the meaning of 'formula' in the definition of structured product given in the moratorium?
    • 27. How is the calculation formula assessed where the underlying of the derivative component of a structured product is either managed in accordance with a CPPI methodology or related technique, or is a customized index?
    • 28. Does the methodology of the customized index for selecting and weighting the components of the customized index have to be based on a set of pre-determined objective criteria?
    • 29. Do share options, warrants or options on units in an investment company with variable capital (bevek/sicav) that are offered by an employer to its employees as part of the compensation package fall under the provisions of the moratorium?
    • 30. In the event that the distributor has chosen to make use of the opt-out, where on the marketing materials must the sentence appear stating that the product is considered particularly complex under the terms of the FSMA's moratorium?
    • 31. How are the provisions of the moratorium applied to a class 23 insurance contract?
    • 32. What conditions must a selection of indexes fulfil?
    • 33. What is the scope of the teaser?
    • 34. Is a subordinated structured product compatible with the moratorium?
    • 35. Does the moratorium apply to bonds issued by commercial or industrial enterprises ('corporate bonds') ?
Financial products

The approval by the FSMA of advertising material

FSMA Regulation governing the distribution of certain derivative financial instruments (binary options, CFDs, etc.)

    • 1. Why this Regulation?
    • 2. What is prohibited under the Regulation?
    • 3. When did the Regulation enter into force?
    • 4. Why is the distribution of binary options and derivative contracts with a maturity of less than an hour prohibited?
    • 5. Why is the distribution of derivative products with leverage (such as CFDs and forex products) prohibited?
    • 6. Whom does the Regulation apply to? Does it also apply to foreign providers?
    • 7. Does the prohibition apply to all forms of distribution of derivatives?
    • 8. Does distribution within the framework of the Regulation require that a minimum number of investors be approached?
    • 9. What do we understand by 'distribution in Belgium'?
    • 10. Does this Regulation mean that from now on no Belgian can 'speculate' on binary options or forex instruments?
    • 11. What happens to existing trading accounts held by Belgians who are clients of an online platform distributing its instruments in Belgium?
    • 12. Can providers still distribute derivatives to legal persons?
    • 13. How will the FSMA enforce the provisions of the Regulation?
    • 14. What can victims of unlawful activities relating to binary options or forex instruments do to recover their losses?
    • 15. Does the Regulation mean that consumers no longer have any way to hedge against certain risks by means of derivatives?
    • 16. Does the Regulation apply to share option plans?
    • 17. Have any other European countries introduced such a prohibition? Are there any other European countries that plan to do so?
Information obligations

Contributions in kind, mergers, divisions and equivalent operations

    • 1. What is the role of the board of directors?
    • 2. What is the role of the shareholders?
    • 3. What are the statutory reporting obligations of the board of directors and the statutory auditor to the shareholders?
    • 4. What is the role of the independent directors and of the statutory auditor of the listed company?
    • 5. Are the conflict of interest rules for intra-group decisions (Art. 524 of the Companies Code) applicable to these types of operations?
    • 6. What are the points requiring attention with regard to a fairness opinion?
    • 7. What kind of information on the justification of the exchange ratio must be reported in the legal reports?
    • 8. VAre these type of operations exempted from the prospectus obligation?
    • 9. What are the points requiring attention with regard to communications about the operation?
    • 10. What is the competence of the FSMA?
Financial planning

Questions and answers concerning financial planning

    • 1. What is the purpose of these FAQs?
    • 2. What does the “independent financial planner” legal status cover?
    • 3. How may I submit an application for authorization as an independent financial planner to the FSMA?
    • 4. Within what period of time must an application for authorization be processed by the FSMA?
    • 5. What are the costs associated with the independent financial planner status?
    • 6. Should the independent financial planner and employees empowered to represent the independent financial planner have specific diplomas, certificates and / or practical experience?
    • 7. Where an independent financial planner is a legal person, who should meet the fit and proper requirements?
    • 8. Where an independent financial planner is a legal person, the persons who effectively run the undertaking shall be named in the application for authorization. What does the concept of ‘effectively run’ mean?
    • 9. Where an independent financial planner is a legal person, the persons who exercise control over the undertaking shall be named in the application for authorization. What does 'control' of the undertaking mean?
    • 10. Which insurers are allowed to provide an insurance policy that meets the requirements of Article 9 of the Royal Decree of 8 July 2014?
    • 11. How can I check whether an independent financial planner is authorised by the FSMA?
    • 12. Is it possible for a person which is not a regulated undertaking to develop an activity as a ‘non independent’ financial planner without being authorised by the FSMA?
    • 13. Pursuant to Article 3, § 2, b) of the Law of 25 April 2014, that Law (with the exception of Article 7, § 1, 1° and § 2 on the right to use the title ‘financial planner’ or ‘independent financial planner’) does not apply to persons providing financial planning advice exclusively to one and the same family. What does the term ‘family’ mean exactly?
    • 14. May a person who does not have to be authorized by the FSMA nevertheless request authorization as an independent financial planner?
    • 15. May the following statuses be held concurrently?
    • 16. Does the exemption from the obligation to hold an authorization that applies to persons subject to a legally recognized code of ethics also apply if said person is from another member state of the European Economic Area?
    • 17. Can the provision of financial planning advice be covered by a framework agreement?
    • 18. Must the independent financial planner or the regulated undertaking make use of standardized questionnaires?
    • 19. May MiFID or AssurMiFID questionnaires be used for financial planning?
    • 20. Does the provision of general information constitute financial planning advice under the Law of 25 April 2014?
    • 21. Does the provision of tailored information constitute financial planning advice under the Law of 25 April 2014?
    • 22. Does the provision of answers to specific questions constitute financial planning advice under the Law of 25 April 2014?
    • 23. Does the Law of 25 April 2014 apply to the provision of assistance to the client for the implementation of a wealth or estate plan?
    • 24. Does the use of simulation tools by independent financial planners and regulated undertakings constitute financial planning under the Law of 25 April 2014?
    • 25. May financial planning advice concern only part of the client’s wealth?
    • 26. Is it possible to provide financial planning advice if the client does not want to give a complete picture of his or her wealth?
    • 27. May financial planning advice be restricted to an analysis of the area of tax law and taxation?
    • 28. May an independent financial planner or a regulated undertaking call upon external experts to handle certain aspects of financial planning?
    • 29. May an independent financial planner or a regulated enterprise, in its financial planning advice, refer the client to an expert where aspects of foreign jurisdiction or law are to be addressed in the advice?
    • 30. What is the difference between tax law and taxation?
    • 31. What is meant by 'social security and socio-economic security'?
    • 32. What is meant by 'the economic and financial environment'?
    • 33. May an insurance company based in a member state of the European Economic Area rely on its status as regulated undertaking to provide financial planning advice in Belgium without being authorized as independent financial planner if it is not permitted to carry out this activity in its home member state?
    • 34. May a Belgian insurance company rely on its status as regulated undertaking in order to pursue financial planning advice?
    • 35. May an insurance intermediary based in another member state of the European Economic Area rely on its passport in order to provide financial planning advice?
    • 36. May an investment company based in another member state of the European Economic Area rely on its passport in order to provide financial planning advice under the free provision of services?
    • 37. May a credit institution based in another member state of the European Economic Area rely on its passport in order to provide financial planning advice in Belgium?
    • 38. Must branches of regulated undertakings based in another member state of the European Economic Area register with the FSMA in order to carry out financial planning under Article 34, §§ 3 and 4, of the Law of 25 April 2014?
    • 39. May a regulated undertaking call itself ‘independent financial coach’ or ‘onafhankelijk financieel coach’ or ‘coach financier indépendant’ or any other name referring to the idea of independence?
    • 40. Who may use the title of ‘independent financial planner’?
    • 41. Who may use the title of ‘financial planner’?
    • 42. May an independent financial planner hold power of attorney over the accounts of its clients?
    • 43. May the financial planner provide investment services to its clients or provide them with advice concerning transactions on individual financial instruments?
    • 44. May an account manager in a regulated undertaking hand the financial planning advice over to the client and give him or her explanations as to its content?