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New regulatory framework for crowdfunding

March 2017

On 1 February 2017, new rules concerning "crowdfunding" entered into force. Through an act dated 18 December 2016, the legislator introduced a recognised legal status for alternative funding platforms. An additional prospectus exemption for crowdfunding projects has also been implemented.


The main features of the new regulatory framework are set out below. A more in-depth overview is available in Dutch.

The new rules relate to "crowdfunding platforms" for which the legislator thought it necessary to provide a legal operating framework, also given the tax advantages linked to such investments. This new legal framework is applicable only to platforms commercialising investment instruments (as defined by the Prospectus Act of 16 June 2006). Crowdfunding platforms which only collect donations or whose activities receive no consideration other than a payment in kind (e.g. a commercial gift or an original copy of an artistic work which is invested in) will not be subject to these rules.

The new legal framework for alternative funding platforms provides for an authorisation/certification system, rules concerning business operations, operating rules, as well as a supervision and sanction mechanism. These rules do not apply to the European Central Bank, the National Bank of Belgium or members of the European System of Central Banks. In addition, they do not apply when the offer is addressed only to entities with legal personality or to qualified investors or to fewer than 150 persons (including legal and natural persons).

These rules will not apply to entities with activities relating only to the distribution of communications concerning offers of investment instruments, provided that they have no direct or indirect interest in the results of such offers.

In addition to the legal framework in respect of alternative funding platforms, the act of 18 December 2016 provides for an additional prospectus exemption besides the existing crowdfunding exemption. The additional exemption applies if the investment instrument is commercialised by this type of alternative funding platform or by a regulated company which carries out such activities and if all of the following conditions are fulfilled:

  • the aggregate amount of the offer must not exceed EUR 300,000, with a maximum amount of EUR 5,000 per investor;
  • all documents in respect of the transaction include the aforementioned thresholds;
  • an information document must be made available to the investors (but is not subject to prior approval by the FSMA); and
  • the instruments offered may not be in a very high risk category and/or a complex category ("contracts for difference", options, etc.).

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