General

Every individual taking out insurance cover assumes that the insurer is able to pay up if the worst comes to the worst. Pensioners assume that their pensions will be duly transferred to their accounts each month. And every worker who has their salary paid into a bank account should be able to rest assured that their money is in safe hands. The Nederlandsche Bank (DNB) works to ensure a reliable financial system in which institutions meet their obligations.

Therefore DNB supervises:

  • Banks
  • Pension funds
  • Insurance companies
  • Other, similar institutions 

Authorisations

Financial services may not be provided by just anyone. To operate in this field one needs authorisation from DNB. Such a licence is only granted on condition that the enterprise is financially sound (solvent) and satisfies the criteria for good governance. Those who do not abide by the rules must expect sanctions. In the very worst case, DNB will revoke its authorisation. Supervision reduces the chances of an institution running into trouble, but is not a fool-proof guarantee. All licensed institutions are listed in DNB’s registers, which you can view online.

Collaboration with foreign supervisory authorities

With many financial institutions operating on an international scale, collaboration between national supervisory authorities is important. For that reason, laws and regulations on supervision are drafted and coordinated at a European level, which makes matters clearer for all parties involved.

The system for European banking supervision headed by the ECB, known as the Single Supervisory Mechanism (SSM) has been operational since 4 November 2014. Since that date, supervision of banks has been a shared responsibility of the ECB and the various national supervisory authorities, DNB being one of them, in the participating EU Member States, . The creation of the European banking union means that the supervision of banks and the resolution of potential crises is now controlled at the European level.

Another supervisor: the AFM

Besides DNB, there’s another financial supervisor: the Netherlands Authority for the Financial Markets (AFM). This authority supervises the way financial institutions deal with their customers. For example, it is prohibited for institutions to provide misleading information to their customers.