Supervision release 4 July 2019 – 35/2019

Providing equity savings accounts and equity savings account agreements to customers

The Act on Equity Savings Accounts (680/2019) entered into force on 1 June 2019. The Act applies to savings agreements under which funds are deposited in a saver’s personal account, identified in the agreement, for further investment in investment objects specified in the Act.

Under an equity savings account agreement, a service provider may receive funds up to a maximum of EUR 50,000 in an equity savings account (ESA). The funds are received in the saver’s personal account, i.e. an ESA, specified in the agreement. Funds deposited in an ESA may be invested in the investment objects, listed in section 6 of the Act on Equity Savings Accounts, which are acquired in the name of the saver. Investment objects other than those mentioned in the agreement that have been acquired with the funds saved in the ESA may not be received for custody in the name of the saver in the ESA. The saver’s existing equity investments may not be transferred to within the scope of the ESA agreement.

ESA agreements may be provided to customers by

  • deposit banks and foreign EEA credit institutions referred to in the Credit Institutions Act (610/2014); and
  • investment firms and foreign EEA investment firms referred to in the Investment Services Act (747/2012).

The following have the right to provide an ESA associated with an ESA agreement

  • Finnish deposit banks and
  • branches of foreign credit institutions in Finland.

Only a natural person may open an ESA.

Obligation to notify the Financial Supervisory Authority on the provision of ESAs

A service provider may provide ESA agreements after notifying the Financial Supervisory Authority (FIN-FSA) of its intention to do so. The notification shall be made in writing at least one month before the commencement of activities, and an adequate and reliable statement on the organisation of the activities shall be attached to the notification. The service provider shall also notify the FIN-FSA without delay of a material change in matters referred to in the notification.

Deviating from the above, an ESA may not, however, receive funds before 1 January 2020. Moreover, the service provider shall not commence the provision of ESA agreements before three months have passed from making the notification to the FIN-FSA, if the notification is made before 31 March 2020.

The notification may be made jointly by, for example, member banks belonging to the same amalgamation or companies belonging to the same group. A prerequisite for making a joint notification is that the companies’ operating model is the same or, if the operating models differs from each other, that the specificities of each information operator are clearly outlined in the notification.

The notification is requested to be sent primarily in electronic form to the FIN-FSA Registry, address: Kirjaamo(at)finanssivalvonta.fi. The message shall be titled “Notification of providing equity savings account agreements”.

Alternatively, the notification may be sent by post to the address Financial Supervisory Authority, PO Box 103, 00101 Helsinki.

The FIN-FSA maintains a list of service providers in accordance with the Act on Equity Savings Accounts. Service provision may be launched when the FIN-FSA has processed the notification and an entry in the FIN-FSA’s list has been made, which can be found on the FIN-FSA’s website.

Content of the notification to be made to the FIN-FSA

The notification to be made to the FIN-FSA shall include the following information and statements:

  • Information about the service provider providing the ESA or the service providers associated with the service package and a description of whether one service provider provides the customer with both the ESA and the ESA account associated with the ESA agreement and the investment and ancillary services associated with the ESA agreement, or whether the provision of the ESA and the ESA agreement and the investment and ancillary services associated with the ESA agreement is realised through the cooperation of several service providers, and what the role of each service provider is in the service package.

  • A description of the service package to be provided, including at least the following information:
    • a description of the custody arrangements for customer funds and financial instruments, as required in section 7 of the Act on Equity Savings Accounts
    • a description of the implementation of accounting, as required by section 10 of the Act on Equity Savings Accounts
    • a description of the reporting systems used by the service provider for customer and official reporting
    • a statement on how an assurance is requested that the customer has no other ESAs
    • a statement on how the service provider ensures that the EUR 50,000 maximum deposit amount is not exceeded
    • a statement on how the service provider ensures that the book-entry account associated with the service or the customer’s other custody arrangement is not used for other than the investment referred to in this service
    • the investment and ancillary services provided in connection with the ESA agreement
    • the investment objects in which the savings funds may be invested and possible restrictions on the investment objects
    • a statement on how the service provider ensures that the funds may be invested only in the investment objects according to the agreement (e.g. geographical restrictions, trading venue restrictions)
    • the service-related transaction methods available to the customer as well as the distribution channels.

In addition to the information listed above, the following shall be attached to the notification

  • an extract from the minutes on the decision made by the company’s board of directors to commence providing the service as well as the decision-making material and its appendices of the meeting of the board of directors;
  • the ESA agreement marketing material; and
  • the customer agreement models and terms and conditions, including price list, for the service package related to providing the ESA.
     

For further information, please contact

  • Armida Rantanen, Assistant Legal Adviser, armida.rantanen(at)fiva.fi, tel. +358 9 183 5532 (until 26 July 2019)
  • Katarina Pesola, Legal Adviser, katarina.pesola(at)fiva.fi, tel. +358 9 183 5243 (from 29 July 2019)