New FSMA guidelines on the approval process for independent financial planners

Olivier Hermand 7 November 2014


On 4 November 2014, the Financial Services and Markets Authority (‘FSMA’) published a Memorandum dated 1st November 2014 on its website on the access to the legal status of independent financial planner and related approval process with the FSMA (the ‘Memorandum’).

The Belgian Act of 25 April 2014 on the legal status and supervision of independent financial planners and rendering of advice on financial planning by regulated entities (the ‘Financial Planning Act’) entered into force on 1st November 2014. The Financial Planning Act provides that persons or institutions (other than regulated entities) which intend to offer financial planning advice to retail clients on the Belgian territory must obtain a licence as an independent financial planner delivered by the FSMA.

The Memorandum describes the two-step authorisation procedure.

The first step requires the filing of an application with the FSMA. The application file must describe the entire project including general, legal, organisational and financial information.

The second step consists in the implementation of the project (the financial planner must be ready to start its activities from a legal, financial and operational perspective).

In addition to the Memorandum, the FSMA published the forms to be filled in and appended to the application file with the following information:

  • information concerning the person in charge of the application file and contact person;
  • information regarding the independent financial planner;
  • information in relation to the shareholding of the independent financial planner’s company;
  • information regarding the management of the independent financial planner’s company and the persons empowered to represent the independent financial planner.

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