General aspects

This Chapter shall apply to the following institutions under direct supervision by the NBB:

  • credit institutions, stockbroking firms, payment institutions and electronic money institutions governed by Belgian law, and the aforementioned institutions' branches abroad,
  • branches established in Belgium of credit institutions, stockbroking firms, payment institutions and electronic money institutions governed by the law of a State that is not a member of the European Economic Area,
  • settlement institutions and institutions assimilated to settlement institutions governed by Belgian law, and the aforementioned institutions' branches abroad,
  • central securities depositories, their supporting institutions and central depository banks governed by Belgian law, and the aforementioned institutions' branches abroad,
  • branches established in Belgium of institutions supporting central securities depositories, central depository banks and settlement institutions and institutions assimilated to settlement institutions, governed by the law of a State that is not a member of the European Economic Area,
  • (mixed) financial holding companies.

For reasons of consistency and level playing field, a cross-sectoral approach to the suitability requirements has been pursued as far as possible. Therefore, the guidelines dealt with in this Chapter apply to all the afore-mentioned institutions, though only to the extent that this is provided by the national or European legal framework that applies to them. However, in assessing suitability, the NBB will take into account, inter alia, the nature, size, complexity, risk profile and organisational structure of the institution in which the person concerned operates (see point 3.4.2.3). In the view of the NBB as supervisor, there are no decisive reasons for the interpretation of the assessment standards to vary even further (than in function of the above-mentioned parameters) between the institutions referred to in this chapter.

In line with the cross-sectoral approach mentioned above, it should be noted that some international guidelines and policy documents, although explicitly addressed to credit institutions or stockbroking firms, contain good practices which should be widely replicated. Consequently, the NBB also recommends that the other institutions in this chapter should wherever possible apply, mutatis mutandis, the following good practices - within the limits of the respective supervisory laws and taking into account the specific proportionality variables of point 3.4.2.3:

  • In application of Directives 2013/36/EU ('CRD IV') and 2014/65/EU ('MIFID II'), EBA issued on 26 September 2017 Guidelines EBA/GL/2017/12, which are to be applied as from 30 June 2018. The NBB will rely on these guidelines in its effective supervision of suitability requirements.
  • The ECB published in May 2018 a Guide to fit and proper assessments (‘SSM Guide’), which aims to harmonise the application of assessment criteria for suitability assessments with a view to establishing a common ground in supervisory practice for credit institutions under its direct supervision.