The role of the FSMA in Belgium

The financial markets are the scene of constant transactions, whether in Belgium or elsewhere. In this country, the FSMA assumes the role of the gendarme, thus ensuring that the rules in force in this field are indeed applied and above all that the interests of consumers are respected. Update on the role of the FSMA in Belgium

Financial market supervision in Belgium

FSMA is the acronym for the “Financial Services and Markets Authority”, which can be translated as the “Autorité des services et marchés financiers”. Its role is to ensure that the interests of the consumer (more precisely those of the investor) are properly respected and that the financial markets comply with the regulations in force.

belgian national bank logoThe objective is to ensure that the stability and reliability of these markets are constantly preserved. Operator control is based on the “Twin Peaks” principle. Thus, the FSMA operates in parallel with another autonomous body, the National Bank of Belgium, each entity being entrusted with specific tasks.

The role of the FSMA

The main role of the FSMA is therefore to ensure that consumers receive appropriate and fair treatment by frequenting financial markets. The organization carries it out through specific missions. The FSMA monitors financial markets while controlling the financial data shared by operators. It controls various criteria to ensure the quality of financial services provided by service providers and intermediaries: product control, compliance with conduct of business rules and supplementary pensions. This organization also ensures optimal financial education.

As with all markets, financial markets must be transparent. The FSMA ensures this. In practice, the entity ensures that all investors can benefit from the same information, whether they are small or large consumers. It then checks that operators provide the same types of information (which must be both honest and complete).

fsma website

The measures taken by the FSMA

As a true gendarme, the FSMA can take action. More specifically, it may issue warnings in the event of the discovery of operators who are in breach of the regulations in force (lack of approval, for example). In addition to this information to the public, the organization also informs the courts, which will make a decision on whether or not to prosecute the companies concerned.

Recently, the FSMA has rightly warned investors based in Belgium about the particularly risky nature of certain financial products, in this case binary products and Forex. The main concern is that many operators do not have the necessary authorisation to operate as an investment company or credit institution, with authorisation to be granted by the FSMA.

This lack of regulation means that these operators bypass the various obligations (information and transparency in particular). In all cases, the FSMA always watches over the grain, ensuring that the interests of consumers are always respected. If we draw a parallel with other European countries, the FSMA is the equivalent of the AMF (Autorité des Marchés Financiers) in France and also offers a black list of forex brokers and binary options.