Belgian law distinguishes between two categories of investment firms:
- brokerage companies; and
- portfolio management and investment advisory companies.
“Brokerage companies” are authorized to provide the full range of investment services and to carry out all investment activities provided for by law and the MiFID Directive. Their prudential supervision is carried out by the NBB, which is also competent for credit institutions.
In contrast, the authorization of “portfolio management and investment advisory companies” is limited to certain investment services or activities. The prudential supervision of these companies is carried out by the FSMA.
The “Law of 25 October 2016 on the access to the investment services activity and the status and supervision of portfolio management and investment advisory companies” came into force mid-November. It revokes the “Law of 6 April 1995 on the status and supervision of investment firms” while retaining and updating a large majority of its provisions.
This law is limited, on the one hand, to rules relating to accessing the investment services activity—which are the same for both categories of investment firms—and, on the other hand, to the specific rules relating to the prudential supervision of portfolio management and investment advisory companies.
As for rules relating to the status and supervision of brokerage companies, they have been incorporated into the “Law of 25 April 2014 on the supervision and status of credit institutions”. Here, a specific title devoted to brokerage companies has been introduced with the adoption of a “Law of 25 October 2016 on the status and supervision of brokerage companies and carrying various provisions”.