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Legislation

Decree-Law No. 357-B/2007 of 31 October (to be updated)


(with the amendments introduced by Decree-Law 52/2010 of 26 May and by Decree-Law 157/2014)

The present Decree-Law partially transposes to national law the Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council No. 2004/39/EC of 21st April, on the Markets in Financial Instruments. This Directive amends the Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council Nos. 85/611/EEC, of 20th December and 93/6/EEC, of 15th March, and Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council No.2000/12/EC, of 20th March, and repeals the Council Directive No. 93/22/EEC, of 10th May. Thus, establishing the legal framework applicable to companies whose exclusive object is to provide investment advice in financial instruments and the reception and transmission of orders on behalf of a third party with respect to same.

The Framework now enshrined does not impair maintaining a form wholly regulated by national law – investment advisers whose main activity is securities investment advice. Taking into consideration that, on the one hand by virtue of the Directive on the Markets in Financial Instruments, the financial instruments investment advice shall become one of the financial intermediation activities that comprises a group of principal investment services and activities, and on the other hand, only duly authorized investment firms or credit institutions may pursue said services and activities on a cross-border basis. It is important to ensure that the entities that purport to carry out said activity comply with the necessary requirements that allow same to be classified as investment firms and benefit from the designated community passport. Thus, based on the authorisation that is granted to same by the Member State in which it has its registered office, the investment firms are entitled to operate all over the European Union.

Within this framework, the new form ‘Investment Advice Firm’ is hereby established, and the respective legal system is regulated by autonomous legislation. These firms may take the legal form of a public limited company or limited company. The fact that the parties may opt for one of the abovementioned types of company is based on whether a greater or lesser complex corporate structure is sought and this should be reflected on the type of company adopted.

As to the firms that adopt the public limited company type, it is also worth noting that the respective capital should be compulsorily represented by nominal shares, so that its shareholders may be easily ascertained. This is in order to control whether same complies with the necessary conditions for ensuring the sound and prudent management of said companies, particularly, the holders of qualifying holdings.

Also particularly salient is that the investment advice firms, as investment firms, become subject to a prior authorization system, without which it may not carry out its activity. Said authorisation system is constituted in a single document by the CMVM. Thereby, assigning the responsibility for supervising said companies from a prudential point of view to the CMVM. The Directive enables the Member States, which recognise the companies whose main activity is financial instruments investment advice, the possibility of benefitting from a more flexible system in terms of prudential supervision. As a result of this option, more moderate prudential requirements are established than that applicable to other investment firms, but nevertheless, still capable of meeting the prudential requisites, in order to ensure the sound functioning of said firms.

Furthermore, it is particularly salient that, in order to ensure that the investment advice activity is developed in compliance with the best existing rules on the matter, it is hereby required that the Directors, the members of the Supervisory Board and the other persons that effectively direct the business are of good repute and professionally suitable for carrying out the respective duties.

Thus:
Under the legislative authority granted by Law No. 25/2007, of 18th July, and pursuant to Article 198/1/a/ and b) Constitution, the Government decrees as follows:

   Article 1

Object

1 – The present Decree-Law establishes the legal framework applicable to companies whose exclusive object is to provide investment advice in financial instruments and the reception and transmission of orders on behalf of a third party with respect to same.

2 - The present Decree-Law partially transposes the Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council No. 2004/39/EC of 21st April, on the Markets in Financial Instruments, amending Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council Nos. 85/611/EEC, of 20th December and 93/6/EEC, of 15th March, and Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council No. 2000/12/EC, of 20th March, and repealing Council Directive No. 93/22/EEC, of 10th May, to national law.

Article 2

Definition and Registered Office

1 – The investment firms exclusively authorised to carry out the investment advice activities and the reception and transmission of orders on behalf of a third party envisaged in Article 290/1/a) and f) Securities Code are investment advice firms.

2 – The registered office and the head office of the investment advice firm should be located in Portugal.

3 – The Securities Code shall cover any matter whatsoever that is not envisaged in the present Decree-Law.

Article 3
Type of Company and Head Office

1 – The investment advice firms may adopt the form of a public limited company or a limited company. 

2 – The capital of an investment advice firm that takes the form of a public limited company should be represented by nominal shares.

3 – Unless dealing with a single-member private limited company, the management of an investment advice firm shall be undertaken, by at least two members.

Article 4
Banned Transactions

The investment advice firms are banned from carrying out the following transactions:

a) Holding clients’ money or financial instruments;

b) Lending in any form;

c) Providing private or real estate collateral in favour of third parties;

d) Acquiring for own account any financial instruments and real estate, unless same is necessary for the installation of its own business.

Article 5
Qualifying Holdings

1 - Any person who proposes to hold a qualifying holding in an investment advice firm should comply with the requirements that ensure the sound and prudent management of said company.

2 - The following are considered to be qualifying holdings:

a) Which, directly or indirectly, represent a percentage of not less than 10% of the capital or voting rights in the investment advice firm; or

b) Which, for any reason whatsoever, allow for a substantial influence to be had on the management of the investment advice firm.

3 - For purposes of the current Decree-Law, the provisions laid down in Articles 20, 20-A and 21 of the Securities Code, mutatis mutandis, apply to the calculation of the voting rights of the holder in the investment advice firm.

4 - In calculating qualifying holdings in the investment advice firm, the following are not taken into account:

a) The voting rights held as a result of providing the underwriting of financial instruments or the placing of financial instruments on a firm commitment basis, provided that the voting rights are not exercised nor otherwise used to intervene in the management of the company and are disposed of within one year from the acquisition date;

b) The shares traded for the sole purpose of clearing and settling within the usual short settlement cycle;

c) The stake of a financial intermediary acting as a market maker that reaches or exceeds 5% of the voting rights corresponding to share capital, provided that said intermediary does not intervene in the management of the subsidiary, nor exert influence on the acquisition of said shares or back the share price;

d) The shares held by custodians, in said capacity, and provided the custodians show the CMVM that it may only exercise the voting rights attached to shares under instructions issued in writing or by electronic means.

5 - For purposes of paragraphs b) and c) above, the provisions of Articles 16-A and 18 of the Securities Code are applicable.  

Article 6
Good Repute and Professional Experience

1 - In order to ensure sound and prudent management, the Directors and members of the Supervisory Board of the investment advice firm and the persons that effectively manage the business should be of good repute and have the appropriate professional experience and availability for carrying out the respective duties, giving assurances of a sound and prudent management.

2 - Articles 30/D and /31 of the General Framework of Credit Institutions and Financial Companies, are applicable with due amendments, subject to the CMVM’s opinion on the propriety and professional qualification requirements.

3 - For the purposes of checking the requirements set out in this Article, the CMVM shall exchange information with the Portuguese Central Bank and the Portuguese Insurance Institute.

4 - For the purposes of this Article, the good repute of the Directors and members of the Supervisory Board that are registered with the Portuguese Central Bank and the Portuguese Insurance Institute is deemed to be affirmed when said registration is subject to the requirements of good repute, unless new information appears at the date of such registration that would lead the CMVM to rule to the contrary

Article 7
Financial Requirements

1 – When the formation is authorised, the investment advice firm should comply with at least one of the following financial requirements:

a) A minimum initial capital of EUR 50,000.00 as at the date of the company formation;

b) Indemnity insurance covering the whole territory of the European Union, or any other comparable guarantee against liability arising from professional negligence, which represents at least EUR 1,000,000 applicable per claim and on the whole EUR 1,500,000 per year for all claims;

c) A combination of initial capital and indemnity insurance in such a manner that the level of coverage is equivalent to that mentioned in the above paragraphs.

2 – Whenever the guarantee is not automatic or when the respective object does not envisage the extension or nature covering the liability intended, the CMVM may object to the guarantee presented pursuant to the abovementioned sub-paragraph b).

Article 8
Financial Information

The investment advice firms should adopt the accounting standards applicable to investment firms.

Article 9
Authorisation for the Formation

1 – The formation of an investment advice firm is subject to authorisation by the CMVM.

2 – The following shall accompany the application for authorisation:

a) Draft Memorandum and Articles of Association;

b) Feasibility study on the company’s economic and financial viability;

c) Identification of the holders of qualifying holdings and respective holdings, including the following in the event of same being legal persons:

i) Updated Memorandum and Articles of Association and the identification of the directors;

ii) Identification of the members who are the holders of qualifying holdings in same;

iii) Links with companies in whose capital the legal person is the holder of qualifying holdings, and, if applicable, a depictive presentation of its group structure;

d) Identification of the directors and the members of the Supervisory Board;

e) Demonstration of compliance with the financial requirements;

f) Anticipated date for the commencement of business.

3 – The granting of authorisation to an investment advice firm, which is one of the following, depends on the prior consultation with the supervisory authority of the EU Member State:

a) Company controlled by an investment firm authorised in said Member State, or company controlled by the parent company of the investment firm in said terms and conditions, or controlled by said natural or legal persons that control the investment firm authorized in said Member State;

b) Company controlled by a credit institution authorised in said Member State, or company controlled by the parent company of the credit institution in said terms and conditions, or controlled by said natural or legal persons that control the credit institution authorized in said Member State;

c) Company controlled by an insurance undertaking authorised in said Member State, or company controlled by the parent company of the insurance undertaking in said terms and conditions, or controlled by said natural or legal persons that control the insurance undertaking authorized in said Member State;

4 – The CMVM shall exchange information with the supervisory authorities referred to in the preceding paragraph in order to assess the requirements envisaged in Articles 5 and 6.

Article 10
Grant and Refusal of Authorisation for the Formation

1 – The applicant is notified of the decision granting or refusing the authorisation for the formation within 30 days as from the reception date of the application or the supplementary information requested, if applicable.

2 – The authorisation shall be refused if the applicant does not comply with the requirements envisaged in the present Decree-Law or regulation, namely, when:

a) The shortcomings in the application for authorisation are not remedied within the period laid down by the CMVM;

b) The application is impaired by the inaccuracies or false information;

c) The CMVM does not consider that the requirements of suitability and professional experience established in Articles 5 and 6 have been shown to be complied with;

d) The applicant does not have the stipulated financial requirements; 

e) The adequate supervision of an investment advice firm becomes unfeasible by close links between same and third parties;

f) The adequate supervision of an investment advice firm becomes unfeasible by virtue of any legal or regulatory provisions of a third country governing any person with whom the company has close links or inherent difficulties in the enforcement of same.

3 – The granting of authorisation implies the initial registration of activities referred to in Article 295 Securities Code.

Article 11
Withdrawal and Lapse of Authorisation for the Formation

1 – The CMVM may withdraw the authorisation for the formation on the following grounds:

a) If obtained by making false statements or any other illegal means;

b) No longer meets some of the requirements whereon the granting of same depends, and the company does not rectify the situation within the period that the CMVM stipulated;

c) If the company carries out business that does not correspond to that registered;

d) If the company ceases activity or is being reduced to an insignificant level for a period greater than 12 months;

e) If serious irregularities in the administration, accounting organisation or internal audit of the company have been recorded;

f) If the company breaches the rules that regulate the business.

2 – The withdrawal of the authorisation implies the dissolution and liquidation of the company.

3 – The authorisation shall lapse if the company expressly renounces the authorisation or does not commence activity within 12 months from its formation.

Article 12
Prudential Assessment

1 - The person who, directly or indirectly, purports to acquire qualifying holdings in an investment advice firm shall first notify the CMVM of the proposed acquisition.

2 - The provisions of the preceding paragraph are also applicable to the cases wherein an increase in the qualifying holdings that said person holds, so that the percentage of voting rights or the capital held reaches or exceeds 10%, 20%, one third or 50%, or if for any other reason, a control relationship with the investment advice is established.

3 - Within two working days of receipt of the notification envisaged in paragraphs 1 and 2, the CMVM shall notify the proposed purchaser in writing of receiving same and the deadline for the assessment.

4 - As an alternative to the provisions of the preceding paragraph, if the notification envisaged in paragraphs 1 and 2 does not contain the required data and information, the CMVM notifies the proposed purchaser of the outstanding information in writing within two working days of its receipt.

5 - Notwithstanding the provisions of this Decree-Law, Article 103 of the Legal Framework for Credit Institutions and Financial Companies applies, mutatis mutandis, to the assessment by the CMVM of conditions that ensure a sound and prudent management of investment advice companies.

6 - Within 15 days, the participants should notify the CMVM of the actions through which the acquisition or increase in qualifying holdings subject to prior notification are carried out.  

Article 12-A
Ban on Voting Rights

1 - The acquisition or increase in qualifying holdings pursuant to Article 12 lays down the ban on the exercise of voting rights attached to the holding as required in order to  prevent the acquirer from exercising greater influence over the company by voting than said person had before the acquisition or increase of holdings, provided any of the following occurs:

a) The acquirer did not comply with the reporting duty envisaged in Article 12/1;

b) The acquirer has acquired or increased its holdings after complying with the notification envisaged in Article 12/1, but before the CMVM has issued a decision pursuant to Article 12/5;

c) The CMVM has opposed the proposed acquisition of or increase in qualifying holdings.

2 - Pursuant to Article 12/6, breaching the duty of disclosure prescribes a ban on voting rights until disclosure of the outstanding notification.

Article 12-B
Special Framework for Revoking Resolutions

1 - Whenever the CMVM or the investment advice firm's Directors become aware of any case concerning a ban on exercising voting rights pursuant to the preceding Article, same should immediately report this to the Chairman of the Presiding Board of the Company's General Meeting. Said Chairman should act in such a way so as to prevent the exercise of the banned voting rights.

2 - Resolutions passed on the basis of blocked votes can be declared null and void, unless it is proved that the resolution would have been adopted without said votes. 

3 - Annulling the resolution may be challenged generally or also by the CMVM.  

Article 12-C
Cooperation

1 - The CMVM shall obtain the opinion of the competent authority of the Home Member State if the proposed acquirer is one of the following:

a) Credit institution, insurance company, reinsurance undertaking, investment firm or management entity of undertakings for collective investment in transferable securities (UCITS) as defined in Article 1-A/2 of Council Directive No. 85/611/EEC, of 20 December 1985, authorized in another Member State;

b) Parent company of an entity referred to in the preceding sub-paragraph;

c) A natural or legal person that controls an entity referred to in a) above.

2 - The CMVM shall obtain an opinion from the Portuguese Central Bank or Portuguese Insurance Institute, in the event of the proposed buyer being one of the entities envisaged in the preceding paragraph and authorized in Portugal by the Portuguese Central Bank or Portuguese Insurance Institute, respectively.

3 - In light of receiving the request for an opinion from another competent authority, the CMVM shall communicate key information on the assessment of proposed acquisition of qualifying holdings, and other information that is relevant, if so required.

Article 12 - D
Decrease in holding

1 – Natural or legal persons wishing to acquire a qualifying holding in an investment consultancy company or decrease same to such an extent that the percentage of the voting rights or capital held drops below any threshold of 20%, a third or 50% or that the control relationship with the investment consultancy company ceases to exist, shall inform the CMVM of same beforehand and communicate the new envisaged investment amount to the former.

 2 – Acts on conveyance or decrease in qualifying holding that are subject to prior communication shall be communicated by the investors to the CMVM within 15 days.

Article 12 – E
Communication by the investment consultancy company

The investment consultancy company shall communicate to the CMVM as soon as it has knowledge of the amendments referred to in articles 12 and 12/D.

Article 13
Notification of the Directors and Members of the Supervisory Board

1 – The CMVM should be notified of the appointment of the directors and the members of the Supervisory Board by the investment advice firm within 15 days of said occurrence.

2 – The investment advice firm or any other interested party may notify the CMVM of the intention to appoint directors and the members of the Supervisory Board of same.

3 - Based on the lack of good repute, professional qualifications or availability and within a period of 30 days after receipt of the notification identifying the person concerned, the CMVM may oppose the said appointment or intention to appoint.

4 - The directors and the members of the Supervisory Board may not commence exercising said duties before the end of the period referred to in the preceding paragraph.

5 – The opposition based on the lack of good repute or experience of the directors and the members of the Supervisory Board shall be communicated to the interested parties and the investment advice firm.

6 – The lack of notifying the CMVM or the exercising of duties before the period for opposition has lapsed does not determine the invalidity of the acts carried out by the person concerned in the exercise of his duties.

7 – In the absence of ascertaining, by a supervening fact or as at the date of  the non-opposition act the CMVM has no knowledge of the suitability requirement, the CMVM should notify the investment advice firm to immediately release the person concerned from his duties and proceed with the respective replacement within a period to be established.

 Article 14
Other Notifications

The investment advice firm should notify the CMVM, within 30 days of the occurrence of the following:

a) The changes to the objects, registered office, capital and the paid-in capital;

b) The place and date for the establishment of branches and agencies;

c) The shareholders’ agreements whereof same are aware.

Article 15
Cross border Activity

The provisions of Articles 199-D and 199-E Legal Framework for Credit Institutions and Financial Companies, approved by Decree-Law No. 298/92, of 31st December, are applicable, mutatis mutandis, to the investment advice firms based in Portugal that purport to exercise its activity in another EU Member State, and those based in an EU Member State purporting to exercise the activity in Portugal. The notifications, communications and other procedures which are required for the remedy of a complaint of the applicants are with the CMVM.

Article 16
Prudential Supervision

The investment advice firms are subject to prudential supervision by the CMVM.

Article 17
Regulation

The CMVM stipulates the following by regulation:

a) Information accompanying the authorisation application for the formation of the investment advice firm and the respective procedure;

b) The information required for the assessment of the good repute and professional experience envisaged in Articles 5 and 6;

c) The requirements and procedures for the appraisal of the professional skills of those that effectively provide the advice service;

d) The manner of presentation and disclosure of the company’s financial information;

e) The prudential requirements applicable, particularly relating to the capital adequacy requirements.

Article 18
Entry into force

The present Decree-Law comes into force on 1st November 2007.
Seen and approved in the Council of Ministers on 9th August 2007. - José Sócrates Carvalho Pinto de Sousa - Manuel Lobo Antunes - Fernando Teixeira dos Santos - Alberto Bernardes Costa.

        

Promulgated on 22nd October 2007. 
Is hereby published.

The President of the Republic, Aníbal Cavaco Silva.
 
Countersigned on 25th October 2007.
 
The Prime Minister, José Sócrates Carvalho Pinto de Sousa.