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Prudent Policy – DNB's policy-making process

Supervision by DNB: what rules are we actually talking about?

Anyone wishing to start a bank, insurer or other "financial institution" in the Netherlands must have a licence – or a registration in the case of a crypto service provider – from De Nederlandsche Bank (DNB). Financial institutions must also comply with a wide range of international, European and national legislation and regulations. We monitor and supervise their compliance will all these laws and regulations. As part of our supervisory activities, our supervisors request a wide range of figures and reports, visit institutions (sometimes unexpectedly) and subject policymakers to fit and proper assessments before they are allowed to start as directors at a financial institution. In some cases we may need to issue a warning or resort to enforcement measures.

DNB "policy statements"

Some laws and regulations are not very specific about how an institution must conduct business, but only provide a general rule. Take, for example, "ethical operational management". Banks may think that they are conducting their business operations ethically, while our supervisors may see things differently. In such cases, we explain how we interpret laws and regulations, making use of the space afforded to us by lawmakers, or we give examples of institutions that, in our view, do a good job of complying with legal requirements and other rules.

Our Explanatory guide to DNB's policy statements provides more information about the meaning as well as the legal status of good practices, Q&As, policy rules and supervisory regulations – the four types of "policy statements" we issue.

Open Book on Supervision

An up-to-date overview of relevant laws, regulations and our policy statements for supervised institutions can be found on our Open Book on Supervision pages, a separate section of the DNB website.

Prudent policy-making – clear and consistent explanations of laws and regulations

We use our Open Book on Supervision pages only to post policies when we are certain that the rules we set or the explanations or guidance we provide are correct, that they are reasonable and thus feasible for institutions, and that they are consistent with other laws and regulations. To ensure that this is the case, we have set up a comprehensive process with internal checks and balances: our "Prudent Policy" process. For instance, we initiate the Prudent Policy process after receiving an alert that there may be a need for further interpretation of laws or regulations. An alert can be almost anything: an institution may express a need for more clarity on an open standard, or questions may arise from an internal review of laws and regulations. We then decide whether this alert may be a reason for us to draft a policy statement, and if so, what type of policy statement is most appropriate. Our supervisors, policy officers, legal experts and management staff then work closely together to produce a first draft version. In most cases, we invite institutions in the financial sector and other relevant actors to consult on the draft version. After we have processed their responses, we finalise the policy statement and publish it on the Open Book on Supervision pages. We also publish policy rules and supervisory regulations in the Government Gazette. Some policy statements can have significant impact, and in these cases we make sure the entire sector is aware of them immediately, for example by issuing news releases. At the same time, we make sure our supervisors are thoroughly up-to-speed, so that they can immediately start using the new policy statement in their supervisory activities. Finally, we review all policies statements at regular intervals to ensure that our policies remain current and consistent.

Navigating the Open Book on Supervision

Our Open Book on Supervision contains a lot of explanatory text, so if you are looking for something specific, it will be a big help to know what our notes and explanations entail. First of all, you can navigate to a specific sector in the financial services industry. You can also navigate by laws and regulations, or click directly to various key cross-sectoral topics.

We have also developed a comprehensive search engine to help you find what you need. An initial search with a few keywords in the search bar at the top will produce the main search results. You can then filter the results with the suggestions offered by the search engine to find the information you need.

If you have specific questions about DNB, please email info@dnb.nl or call 0800 020 1068 (free of charge) on business days between 9:00 and 15:30.