Belgium: Introduction of a banker’s oath

By neub9
3 Min Read

In a nutshell, a new law requiring a banker’s oath and deontological regime for directors and certain bank employees has been published in the Belgian Official Gazette on 15 January 2024. This law aims to ensure that those working in the banking sector adhere to important deontological conduct rules. Key takeaways include the fact that the deontological conduct rules are yet to be established by royal decree, the Belgian Financial Services and Markets Authority (FSMA) will enforce the new rules, and a central register of disciplinary sanctions and professional bans will be established. It is also important to note that not all bank employees need to take the oath and the date of entry into force of the new rules will be determined by royal decree, potentially being implemented in a phased manner.

The new rules apply to credit institutions and agents in banking and investment services, requiring directors and certain bank employees to make an individual declaration to respect deontological conduct rules based on honesty and integrity, competence and professionalism, and consideration of the interests of clients. The oath will be required for “fit and proper persons”, responsible managers, and agents in banking and investment services who are active on Belgian territory.

Disciplinary sanctions that may be imposed include a warning, a reprimand, and a professional ban of up to three years, with the FSMA being the competent authority. Banks must list all in-scope directors and employees and ensure that candidates provide attestation confirming they are not subject to a professional ban.

It is important to note that the rules apply not only to Belgian banks, but also to EEA and non-EEA banks active in Belgium, and agents acting in their name and on their behalf. The date of entry into force is currently scheduled for 15 January 2025 for “fit and proper persons” and responsible managers, and 15 July 2026 for all other in-scope employees.

The individual conduct rules will apply to directors and in-scope bank employees from the entry into force of the new rules, independently of the taking of the oath. These rules aim to ensure ethical and responsible conduct within the banking sector.

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