One of the biggest threats associated with virtual currencies (or cryptocurrencies) is their potential use for money laundering and terrorist financing purposes. With the adoption of the 5th Anti-Money Laundering Directive ( “AMLD5”) on 30 May 2018, the European Union attempts, amongst other things, to address this issue.  

Numerous articles compare different European countries or compare Europe and the US when it comes to financial regulation, the IPO market or the types of FinTech applications that are easily adopted (or not) by the public. We decided to take a look in a different direction and together with the Japanese law firm Keiwa Sogo Law Offices, Simont Braun’s Digital Finance team examined the FinTech trends in both Belgium and Japan. Interesting resemblances, but also surprising differences came out from this analysis and showed that there are different means to the same end, especially when it comes to payments.  

Les associations et fondations n’échappent pas à l’élan des réformes : le Code de droit économique en a déjà fait des entreprises susceptibles d’être déclarées en faillite et il est actuellement question de les doter d’un nouveau corps de règles, en partie commun aux sociétés.

Quels changements annonce le Code des sociétés et associations actuellement en cours de discussion au Parlement ?

Mise à jour - 4 octobre 2018

1. La Loi du 18 septembre 2017 transposant la 4ième directive européenne anti-blanchiment du 20 mai  2015 (directive UE 2015/849) a notamment instauré un registre des bénéficiaires effectifs dénommé « registre UBO » (Ultimate Beneficial Ownership). L’arrêté royal du 30 juillet 2018 relatif aux modalités de fonctionnement du registre UBO a été publié au Moniteur Belge du 14 août 2018 et entrera en vigueur le 31 octobre prochain.

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1.     Introduction

The public offer of investment instruments and their admission to trading on a regulated market used to be governed by the law of 16 June 2006 implementing the Directive 2003/71/EC of 4 November 2003 (the Law of 2006).

While mandatory disclosure of information is vital to protect investors and constitutes a necessary step towards completion of the so-called ‘EU Capital Markets Union’[1], the rules laid down in Directive 2003/17/EC led to divergent approaches across Europe and resulted in significant impediments to cross-border offers of securities, multiple listings on regulated markets and to EU consumer protection rules.

Therefore, the EU legislator repealed the Directive 2003/71/EC and adopted the Regulation 2017/1129 of the European Parliament and of the Council dated 14 June 2017 on the prospectus to be published when securities are offered to the public or admitted to trading on a regulated market (the “Prospectus Regulation”). The Prospectus Regulation imposes obligations having a direct effect on persons involved in the offering or listing of securities.

The FSMA recently released a short Q&A summarising the key steps and requirements of the process for a registration application as an insurance intermediary in Belgium[1]. This document, drafted in English, is intended to attract and inform potential newcomers, be them established insurance professionals fleeing the potential consequences of Brexit or new market entrants such as InsurTech companies.

This provides us with an opportunity to put our two-cents on the application process.

The transposition of the second Payment Services Directive (the “PSDII”) should have been completed on 13 January 2018. With a delay of a few months, a Belgian draft law implementing the PSDII rules of conduct into the Economic Law Code (the “Rules of Conduct (draft) Law”) has finally been released and is likely to be adopted in its final version very soon. 

On 25 May 2018, the Council of Ministers approved the draft new Companies and Associations Code which aims at modernising the regime applicable to companies and associations.

The draft Code will now be submitted to the Federal Parliament for discussion and vote. We expect the parliamentary approval in the autumn of this year. 

The 2nd E-money Directive’s ambitions

The first e-money directive 200/46/EC was not as successful as initially expected. Some of its provisions limited the development of the European e-money market, notably due to certain over-demanding prudential requirements and uncertainties about its scope of application. The second e-money directive 2009/110/EC of 16 September 2009 (“2EMD”) was meant to solve these shortcomings and to give a fresh start to the e-money market. This objective was pursued through facilitating the application process for e-money licenses and bringing its provisions in line with the payment service directive 2007/64/EC (“PSD1”).

Article 17 of the 2EMD required the European Commission to present a report on the implementation and impact of this directive, accompanied, where appropriate, by a proposal for its revision. The deadline imposed by the 2EMD for this review was 1 November 2012