Dutch Central Bank (DNB) has published a policy on social propriety for trust offices (Beleidsregel maatschappelijke betamelijkheid trustkantoren) (the Policy). A copy of the Policy may be found here. The Policy is based on art. 41(3) of Trust Offices (Supervision) Act 2018 and applies to Dutch trust offices and trust offices with their registered seat in another Member State or appointed state which provide trust services on a cross-border basis or via a branch in the Netherlands.

In the explanatory notes to the Policy, DNB elaborates that it does not have the intention to prescribe which activities are considered to be socially improper, but that the Policy provides guidance on how trust offices can create proper conditions to act in a socially proper manner.1

The internal policy of a trust office on social propriety should at least include how, when and in relation to which activities an assessment on social propriety should be made. Examples of how the internal policy should be reflected in procedures of trust offices are inter alia to include an overview of (potential) decisions, activities and type of transactions whereby the risk of socially improper behaviour is present and mitigating measures in relation to such identified risks. Furthermore, criteria should be included to assess in a risk-based manner whether the conduct of the trust office or its employees is in conflict with what is generally accepted according to unwritten law (ongeschreven recht) and can damage the confidence in the trust office or the financial markets in general.

The Policy voices an expectation of DNB that (i) a yearly analysis is included as part of the procedures, processes and measures to analyse what is seen as improper on the basis of unwritten law in society and by the most important stakeholders of the trust office and (ii) a trust office can show in a demonstrable way that it stimulates an active discussion within the trust office with respect to what is seen as socially improper.

The Policy entered into force on 16 January 2020.

1 Stcrt. 2020, 2288 page 4.