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AFM License

A Comprehensive Guide to Navigating AFM Licensing for Financial Service Providers

Understanding AFM Licensing for Financial Service Providers

Financial service providers operating in the Netherlands are bound by stringent rules and regulations. To offer financial services within the country, most businesses must secure a license as stipulated by the Wet op het financieel toezicht (Wft), or the Financial Supervision Act. This license is a testament to the provider’s commitment to prioritizing client interests and offering suitable financial services.

The Essentials of AFM Licensing

The licensing process is overseen by financial regulators, namely the Autoriteit Financiële Markten (AFM) or the Dutch Central Bank (DNB). Obtaining an AFM license requires companies to fulfill several conditions, including the reliability and appropriateness of directors and officers, and adherence to a multitude of legal business operational requirements. Licenses granted are recorded in the public DNB or AFM licensing registers.

When is an AFM License Required?

Entities like asset managers, crowdfunding platforms, fund managers, banks, pension funds, and insurance companies must possess a DNB or AFM license to legally operate in the Netherlands. Various licenses and registers exist for different financial activities, each with specific requirements.

The Licensing Process: From Application to Approval

Applying for an AFM or DNB license is complex and necessitates meticulous preparation. The application and supporting documents are submitted online via the AFM portal or the DNB’s Digital Counter. The process involves self-initiated steps and reviews by the licensing authority, including completeness checks, policy maker assessments, and possibly an interview. The standard decision-making period for most licenses is thirteen weeks, which can be extended by eight weeks under certain circumstances.

Costs Associated with an AFM License

The fee for an AFM license includes one-time costs for the application review and ongoing supervisory costs. These are incurred even if an application is withdrawn or rejected, highlighting the importance of thorough preparation.


1. What is an AFM license, and who needs it?

An AFM license is a mandatory accreditation for financial service providers in the Netherlands, ensuring they meet regulatory standards for offering financial products or services.

2. What types of financial services require an AFM license?

Services such as financial advice, mediation in financial products, insurance brokerage, and offering credits or investment objects all require an AFM license.

3. What is the process for obtaining an AFM license?

The process involves submitting a detailed application through the AFM portal, undergoing a reliability and appropriateness assessment for policymakers, and potentially an interview, followed by a regulatory review.

4. How much does it cost to obtain an AFM license?

The cost includes a one-time fee for the application process and ongoing costs for continued regulatory supervision.

5. Where can I find more information about applying for an AFM license? For comprehensive guidelines and expert tips, visit the official AFM website or consult with specialized compliance advisory services.