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Directive 2014/65/EU of the European Parliament and of the CouncilShow full title

Directive 2014/65/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 15 May 2014 on markets in financial instruments and amending Directive 2002/92/EC and Directive 2011/61/EU (recast) (Text with EEA relevance)

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II.CLIENTS WHO MAY BE TREATED AS PROFESSIONALS ON REQUEST

II.1.Identification criteria

Clients other than those mentioned in section I, including public sector bodies, local public authorities, municipalities and private individual investors, may also be allowed to waive some of the protections afforded by the conduct of business rules.

Investment firms shall therefore be allowed to treat any of those clients as professionals provided the relevant criteria and procedure mentioned below are fulfilled. Those clients shall not, however, be presumed to possess market knowledge and experience comparable to that of the categories listed in Section I.

Any such waiver of the protection afforded by the standard conduct of business regime shall be considered to be valid only if an adequate assessment of the expertise, experience and knowledge of the client, undertaken by the investment firm, gives reasonable assurance, in light of the nature of the transactions or services envisaged, that the client is capable of making investment decisions and understanding the risks involved.

The fitness test applied to managers and directors of entities licensed under Directives in the financial field could be regarded as an example of the assessment of expertise and knowledge. In the case of small entities, the person subject to that assessment shall be the person authorised to carry out transactions on behalf of the entity.

In the course of that assessment, as a minimum, two of the following criteria shall be satisfied:

  • the client has carried out transactions, in significant size, on the relevant market at an average frequency of 10 per quarter over the previous four quarters,

  • the size of the client’s financial instrument portfolio, defined as including cash deposits and financial instruments exceeds EUR 500 000,

  • the client works or has worked in the financial sector for at least one year in a professional position, which requires knowledge of the transactions or services envisaged.

Member States may adopt specific criteria for the assessment of the expertise and knowledge of municipalities and local public authorities requesting to be treated as professional clients. Those criteria can be alternative or additional to those listed in the fifth paragraph.

II.2.Procedure

Those clients may waive the benefit of the detailed rules of conduct only where the following procedure is followed:

  • they must state in writing to the investment firm that they wish to be treated as a professional client, either generally or in respect of a particular investment service or transaction, or type of transaction or product,

  • the investment firm must give them a clear written warning of the protections and investor compensation rights they may lose,

  • they must state in writing, in a separate document from the contract, that they are aware of the consequences of losing such protections.

Before deciding to accept any request for waiver, investment firms must be required to take all reasonable steps to ensure that the client requesting to be treated as a professional client meets the relevant requirements stated in Section II.1.

However, if clients have already been categorised as professionals under parameters and procedures similar to those referred to above, it is not intended that their relationships with investment firms shall be affected by any new rules adopted pursuant to this Annex.

Firms must implement appropriate written internal policies and procedures to categorise clients. Professional clients are responsible for keeping the investment firm informed about any change, which could affect their current categorisation. Should the investment firm become aware however that the client no longer fulfils the initial conditions, which made him eligible for a professional treatment, the investment firm shall take appropriate action.

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