Article by Célia Francisco of CGA Associados
The new law on credit institutions and financial companies was published on 31 December 2020, and the law enters into force 90 (ninety) days after its publication, on 31 March 2021.
We highlight the following aspects in relation to the new law:
- The licensing of credit institutions and financial companies will now be subject to a licensing fee and an annual fee to be defined by the Bank of Mozambique Notice.
- The deadlines for both the decision on the application for authorization to incorporate a credit institution and financial company and on the decision regarding the sale of a qualified shareholding have been extended, and the Regulator now has more time to make those decisions on the applications submitted to it. The time limits have been extended from 90 days to 180 days for authorisation to incorporate a credit institution and a financial company, and from 45 to 90 days for authorisation to dispose of a qualified shareholding.
- The concept of “qualified shareholding” , relevant in several aspects of the law, is defined as a direct or indirect holding of not less than 5% (five percent) of the share capital or voting rights of a company. It should be noted that in the previous law the concept of qualified shareholding was defined as holding 10% (ten per cent) or more of the share capital or voting rights.
- The new law imposes on credit institutions and financial companies, in article 27, on first instance, the obligation to conduct an assessment of the members proposed to the company’s management and supervisory bodies, and to include this assessment in a report to be submitted to the Bank of Mozambique when submitting the request for the members’ approval.
- The law we have been referring to incorporates a new section on corporate governance in which clauses are included with guidelines on the management and supervisory bodies of credit institutions and financial companies.
- A great deal of attention is paid to the implementation of resolution measures by credit institutions and financial companies, with several articles of the new law dedicated to the subject, which aims to ensure the continuity of the institutions’ activities with the adoption of several measures set out in the law.
- The fines to be imposed for contraventions are no longer expressed in monetary values but are indexed to the minimum wage applicable to the banking sector.
- In the framework of the contraventional process, the figure of suspension of the process is introduced, which allows the Bank of Mozambique to notify the offender in certain circumstances specified in the law to remedy the irregularity by suspending the process.
- The clause 222 of the new law clarifies that the Bank of Mozambique may disclose the penalty imposed on credit institutions and financial companies even in cases where the decision has been challenged in court by the institutions, simply by mentioning that fact.
It is worth noting that the law lacks regulation by the Council of Ministers and until new regulations are approved, the regulation approved by Decree No. 56/2004 of 10 December 2004 with its amendments remains in force, and that in several aspects of the law the Bank of Mozambique has been empowered to by Notice, establish specific rules.