Top Dutch News – 16 April 2024

Stay up to date with the latest news from the Netherlands!  Enjoy reading!

Action needed to stop the use of buy now pay later by minors (AFM)

The Netherlands Authority for the Financial Markets (AFM) found that in 2023, nearly 600,000 transactions linked to Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) providers were made by minors, which is concerning as credit shouldn’t be granted to them. Consumers under 35 often miss payment terms, incurring significant reminder costs. A behavioral experiment showed that sending payment reminders via text message effectively reduced late payments. Additionally, for every €100 spent through BNPL, approximately €40 is returned due to flexible return policies. Regulatory changes will place the BNPL sector under AFM supervision by November 2026, aiming to improve services and compliance. Read more

Crypto apps are not yet designed in the interest of the customer (AFM)

The Netherlands Authority for the Financial Markets conducted an exploratory study into Dutch crypto service providers’ apps, finding that they often steer users towards frequent and potentially risky trading. They urge crypto service providers to prioritize customer interests in app design. While MiCAR regulations may address some risks from December 2024, AFM stresses the need for providers to mature their approach to app design. They will share their findings with European regulators to advocate for consumer-focused crypto app environments. Read more

This week in tax: KPMG hit with record $25m fine over exam cheating (International Tax Review)

The Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) has fined KPMG Accountants Nederland $25 million for widespread examination fraud involving hundreds of professionals, including partners and the Head of Assurance. This fraud, which included sharing exam questions and answers, compromised the integrity of the auditing profession and eroded trust. KPMG Accountants Nederland is now under enhanced supervision by the Dutch Authority for the Financial Markets (AFM), and remediation efforts are underway to prevent future misconduct. The PCAOB and AFM are collaborating to oversee audit firms, given KPMG Accountants Nederland’s role in auditing companies with listings in the US. Read more

Return to growth in investments in Dutch startups (Dutch Startup Association)

In the first quarter of the year, Dutch startups saw a surge in investments, totaling 1.05 billion euros, the highest amount in two years. Despite a slight decrease in the number of deals, the quarter witnessed significant growth, resulting in the emergence of two new unicorns. Large investments from the United States contributed to this growth, reflecting continued interest in the Dutch startup ecosystem. While the number of deals in the very early phase decreased, investments in later stages, particularly above 15 million euros, saw an increase. This growth is seen as a positive sign for the Dutch startup ecosystem, although attention is drawn to maintaining a healthy pipeline of startups for long-term sustainability. Collaboration among various organizations and stakeholders is crucial to ensure a stimulating business climate and capitalize on the potential of the Dutch startup sector. Read more

Nibud: households are financially ahead, but some groups remain vulnerable (NOS)

The National Institute for Budget Information (Nibud) reported improvements in the financial situation of Dutch households overall, with 42% able to make ends meet easily. However, one-third of households still face financial difficulties, particularly renters, low-income households, and young adults. Despite government measures, many struggle with insufficient savings, uncertainty over income, and complexities in the benefits system. Challenges also persist in achieving home sustainability due to affordability issues. Read more

The Dutch have little idea of ​​AI use by financial institutions (DNB)

The rise of artificial intelligence (AI) in the financial sector, as observed globally and in the Netherlands, is highlighted in a survey by DNB involving over 2,200 respondents, with results presented in a joint report with the AFM. Financial institutions are increasingly utilizing AI for tasks such as fraud prevention, money laundering detection, and improving operational efficiency. However, consumer opinions on AI’s use in finance vary, with a quarter expressing positivity, while others remain neutral or skeptical. Concerns include potential biases in AI models and the need for effective supervision. Despite divided opinions on the benefits and risks of AI, a majority acknowledges the importance of regulatory oversight in ensuring responsible AI use. DNB and AFM aim to strike a balance between monitoring AI use and fostering innovation in the financial sector. Read more

IDEAL gets the option to pay for purchases in installments with iDEAL in3 (Tweakers)

iDEAL, the Dutch payment system, has introduced iDEAL in3, allowing users to split their purchases into three installments. The first payment is made immediately upon purchase, with the remaining installments occurring thirty and sixty days later, respectively. There are no additional costs or interest charges for users. The option is selected during payment, and creditworthiness is assessed almost instantly. Upon approval, users receive payment details for the subsequent installments via email. The system was tested last year, with 3968 payments made during the pilot period. iDEAL in3 will be available starting April 4. Read more

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