Bankers’ oath is introduced

Stay up to date with the latest measures from the financial sector

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Brussels, 15 January 2024 - With the introduction of the bankers’ oath, directors and certain staff members of credit institutions and agents in banking and investment services will be required to take an oath. With this bankers’ oath, they officially undertake to respect a number of deontological rules. Febelfin has proactively participated in this new law and supports the introduction of the bankers’ oath. After all, bank employees are proud of their profession as bankers and the social role they fulfil. Febelfin will therefore also contribute as much as possible to its implementation in the banking sector. 


The bankers’ oath: what and why? 


The new bankers’ oath was published in the Belgian Official Gazette today, and applies to credit institutions and agents in banking and investment services. 

The banking oath implies that directors and certain bank employees will have to make an individual declaration, by which they undertake to respect, in the exercise of their professional activities, some important deontological rules. The rules stipulate that there must be acted fairly and with integrity, competence and professionalism in all circumstances. Client interests must be taken into account and clients must be treated fairly. 

Respecting these deontological rules is already an inherent part of the banking profession. But with the introduction of the bankers’ oath, these deontological rules are laid down by law and a disciplinary regulation is attached to them.  

“Febelfin is convinced that this will further increase pride in the banking profession and highlight the important societal role it plays. After all, bankers have an important economic, social and ethical responsibility. It can also further boost confidence in the banking sector.” 
Karel Baert, CEO Febelfin

Belgium is one of the few countries in Europe and by extension in the world with a bankers’ oath. A similar oath already exists in the Netherlands and Australia, albeit in a different form.  


Who has to take the banking oath? 


Not everyone working in the banking sector has to take the banking oath. The banking oath is intended for people in executive positions in a bank and independent control functions, as well as bank employees who are in direct or indirect contact with customers in some way. 




The bankers’ oath must be taken within a period of 12 to 30 months (depending on the person's position) from its publication in the Belgian Official Gazette. Bank employees will therefore mainly take the banking oath in 2024-2025.  

Febelfin proactively cooperated in the implementation of this law and now also wants to support the implementation of the banking oath in all banks as much as possible. Indeed, we are pleased with this implementation, which will boost confidence in the sector. 


FSMA as supervisor 


The FSMA is responsible for monitoring compliance with this oath and will investigate any complaints against an employee who has taken the oath. Non-compliance with the oath may give rise to disciplinary sanctions. After analysing the complaint, the FSMA may, if necessary, impose a sanction on the bank employee. These sanctions may include a warning, a reprimand or a professional ban. The professional ban can be imposed for up to three years. 

In the case of a complaint against a person in a management position, however, the FSMA cannot impose a sanction, but must transfer the complaint to the competent regulator (the NBB or ECB).