Dutch FinTech action plan: legislative changes on the way?

Following the publication of an EU-wide FinTech action plan by the European Commission in 2018, the Dutch government has published on 3 July 2020 its own national FinTech action plan (hereinafter: the Action Plan).

As for the question what constitutes FinTech, the Action Plan uses the rather broad definition as formulated by the Financial Stability board: “technology-enabled innovation in financial services that could result in new business models, applications, processes or products with an associated material effect on the provision of financial services”.

In this newsletter, we take a look at the Action Plan and a number of interesting initiatives stated therein that may lead to amendments in legislation or the application thereof for the Dutch FinTech sector.


Content of the Action Plan

The Action Plan consists of 12 pages and formulates three main goals:


  1. to put the Dutch FinTech climate and FintTech sector on the map both on a national and international level;
  2. to make sure that FinTechs have good access to knowledge and talent; and
  3. to make sure that legislation is in place that is futureproof and enables innovation.


For each of these goals, the Action Plan provides for certain subgoals and corresponding action points. The subject of legislation plays a leading role in that regard. With regard to legislation, the Dutch government has indicated the following goals in the Action Plan:


  • FinTechs should have good access to information on legislation and procedures;
  • it must become more attractive to provide stock option rights as pay, from a tax perspective;
  • FinTechs should not be subject to more strict legal requirements than necessary and proportional;
  • in the European and international context, efforts must be made in favour of harmonisation of legislation and supervision;
  • there should be legislation aimed at existing and future innovative services and products; and
  • new innovation should be stimulated by legislation and policy.


Interesting initiatives

The Action Plan formulates a number of (less and more specific) action points. As stated above, in many events these action points relate to legislation. We list a number of these action points, which may lead to amendments to or a different application of current legal requirements:


  • for the Dutch government to consider whether there is room in Dutch and EU-legislation for a more proportionate application of AML/CFT requirements for small and new companies, discussions to this end will take place with the sector, regulators and other stakeholders;


  • in the context of increased attention for more proportionate supervisory fees, the minister of Finance will ask regulators DNB and AFM to also engage a sufficient number of small companies and new entrants in the run-up to the adoption of the yearly costs budget of AFM and DNB (supervisory fees charged to supervised entities are based on these budgets);


  • also in the context of more proportionate supervisory fees: a new Dutch regulation is being examined which should enable AFM and DNB to build up a reserve for any incidental costs or unforeseen circumstances that cannot reasonably be attributed to small and/or new market entrants. This reserve could contribute to lower the threshold to access the market in the event that new activities fall under financial supervision;


  • the Dutch government will stimulate the introduction of EU-legislation with regard to the use of AI in the financial sector;


  • the Dutch government will also advocate the introduction of EU-legislation for crypto’s and the use of distributed ledger technology in the financial sector;


  • the Dutch government works on the introduction of specific rules for the provision of fully automated advice. A legislative proposal for fully automated advice provided by financial service providers (as defined in the Dutch Financial Supervision Act), was published by the ministry of Finance for consultation purposes on 1 July 2020;


  • the Dutch government will support further research on an EU and international level on the possibilities of central bank digital currency (see for more information about this subject our Finnius Vindt blog);


Next steps

Early 2021, the Dutch government will inform the Dutch House of Representatives on the status of the Action Plan. In addition, the government intends to carry out a new study of the Dutch FinTech sector in 2022, in order to monitor the status of the Netherlands as country of establishment for FinTech companies.