Archive for May 31, 2014

New Act on financial planning published in Belgian Official Journal

The Belgian Act of 25 April 2014 on the legal status and the supervision of the independent financial planners and regarding the rendering of advice on financial planning by regulated entities and on the modification of the Belgian Companies Code and the law of 2 August 2002 regarding the supervision of the financial sector and financial services (the Act on Financial Planning) was published in theBelgian Official Journaltoday.

The complete text of the Act on Financial Planning can be foundhere.

The Act on Financial Planning introduces a new regulatory framework for independent financial planners and regulates the rendering of advice on financial planning. It is applicable to natural or legal persons of which the ordinary professional activity consists of the rendering, on Belgian territory, of advice on financial planning to non-professional clients, even supplementary or additionally.

Certain persons and entities are excluded from the scope of application of the Act on Financial Planning. These include persons who render advice on financial planning to professional clients only, the European and national central banks, persons who render advice on financial planning exclusively for the account of one family, legal persons that render advice on financial planning for the account of affiliated enterprises and persons who render advice on financial planning in the context of another professional activity (for example lawyers, notaries, accountants, auditors and tax advisors), provided that the Act on Financial Planning and the deontological code of such professional activity do not oppose against such cumulation.

The term advice on financial planning shall be taken to mean advice on the optimization, particularly in respect of structuring, of planning in time, protection, legal organisation or transfer of the assets of a client, pursuant to the needs and objectives that such client specifies. The provision of investment services* as well as the rendering of any advice on transactions in particular financial products are explicitly excluded from the definition of advice on financial planning.

The Act on Financial Planning introduces a new category of financial service provider which was up to now unregulated, as a result of which advice on financial planning can only be rendered either by persons licensed as independent financial planner, or -by operation of law- by a regulated entity amongst which credit institutions, investment firms, insurance undertakings, institutions for occupational retirement provision, insurance intermediaries, intermediaries in banking and investment services, management companies and AIFMs).

The Act on Financial Planning lays down rules regarding,inter alia,authorization, licencing requirements, operating conditions and independence for independent financial planners. It is important to note in this respect that an independent financial planner is amongst other things prohibited from providing investment advice, nor any other advice on transactions in particular financial products. Furthermore, the Act provides for conduct of business rules for independent financial planners and regulated entities when rendering advice on financial planning.

The Act on Financial Planning will enter into force on 1 November 2014.

For the sake of completeness, it is important to note that the related Act amending Articles 121 and 122 of the Act regarding the supervision of the financial sector and the financial services was also published in the Belgian Official Journal today.

This Act enters into force as per 1 November 2014 and can be foundhere.

It is expected that a package of related acts, among which the Belgian Act on Alternative Investment Fund Managers (implementing amongst others the Alternative Investment Fund Managers Directive 2011/61/EU), will be published shortly. A client newsflash setting out the main implications will be sent out as soon as possible after publication of such act.

Peschke: Take time this spring to clean up your finances

Mention spring cleaning to most people and they immediately think of a vacuum cleaner, dust cloth and furniture polish and, for the really ambitious, a pail, spray bottle and squeegee for window washing. Cleaning up finances can be even more rewarding and is guaranteed to last longer than dusting. The real payoff is that future financial hassles can be avoided by just a few simple steps, and if you are the typical busy worker, homemaker or retiree, time is a valuable commodity.

CoBank supports UI Extension financial program

National cooperative bank CoBank#x2019;s has donated $150,000 to help a University of Idaho Extension program teach students financial responsibility.

Northwest Farm Credit Services established a $280,000#xa0;four-year pilot program to expand the efforts of UI Extension educators Luke Erickson and Lyle Hansen to teach students about credit and financial literacy.

Northwest Farm Credit then introduced the program to CoBank, one of its partners, according to a UI Extension press release.

#x201c;Economic education and financial literacy have never been more important than they are right now,#x201d; said Chuck Olsen, lead relationship manager for CoBank, in the press release. #x201c;One could argue that they are as essential as math, science and the humanities to a well-rounded curriculum that will help students in the real world.#x201d;#xa0;

Erickson and Hansen#xa0;direct the regional program.

They recently completed an annual advisory board meeting, Erickson said. The board consists of representatives from Northwest Farm Credit Services, CoBank, state 4-H programs from Alaska, Idaho,#xa0;Montana, Oregon and Washington; and several Extension family and#xa0;consumer science state representatives.

The program focuses on responsible borrowing, including student loans, and understanding financial contracts.

Additional topics in later years will include the time-value of money and compound interest, saving and investing, taxes and financial statements, record keeping, fraud and insurance.

The program will be developed so#xa0;it is easily taught to youth audiences#xa0;by third-party educators, including high school teachers and#xa0;4-H leaders, #xa0;Erickson said.

#x201c;The additional support from CoBank will allow us to implement more uses of educational technology like apps and web tools that will expand our reach and increase the level of engagement we will have with youth audiences,#x201d; Erickson said.

The next step includes program creation, Erickson said.#xa0;He and Hansen will lead teams of technology experts, designers and interns to develop and deliver programs.

#x201c;So far our youth programs have been well-received by youth and have resulted in significant knowledge gained and behavior changed,#x201d; Erickson said.