Guide to Business in Spain logo

4. Safeguards to protect financial services customers

4.1 Deposit guarantee fund and investment guarantee fund

4.1.1 Deposit Guarantee Fund

The Deposit Guarantee Funds fall within the mechanisms of control and special support that seek to prevent the occurrence of insolvency situations at credit institutions. They are entities with public legal personality which credit institutions must necessarily join, as must the branches of credit institutions authorized in a non-EU Member State where their deposits in Spain are not covered by a similar guarantee system in their home country. The assets of the funds basically consist of the annual contributions made by the credit institutions that are members of the fund.

As a result of the events that have affected the international financial economy since August 2007, Europe is in financial turmoil. With the aim to coordinate the acts of the various Member States and secure the stability of the financial system, the Economic and Financial Affairs Council of the European Union welcomed the European Commission’s proposal to carry out urgently an appropriate initiative to promote convergence of deposit guarantee schemes and agreed to raise the minimum coverage level to €50,000. This decision was implemented in Spain in Royal Decree 1642/2008, of October 10, 2008 (now repealed by Royal Decree 628/2010, of May 14, 2010), in which it was decided to strengthen the Spanish deposit and investment guarantee system by raising the protection for existing deposits to one hundred thousand euros (€100,000) per holder and institution, for situations that could arise in the future. The intention behind this measure is to maintain and increase the confidence of deposit holders and investors at Spanish credit institutions.

The aim of the Deposit Guarantee Fund legislation31 is to reinforce the solvency and functioning of credit institutions, thereby supporting the essential principle established by the international financial authorities and by the Spanish government as the basis of public intervention in light of the financial crisis, i.e. that the financial sector itself assume the costs incurred in the restructuring and recapitalization of the sector, so that the reform package will imply no cost for the public purse and, in short, for the taxpayer.

4.1.2 Investment Guarantee Fund (FOGAIN):

The FOGAIN was set up as a requirement of Directive 97/9/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of March 3, 1997 on investor-compensation schemes, and is regulated in article 198 of the Securities Market Law.

The purpose of the FOGAIN is to offer the clients of broker-dealers, brokers and portfolio management companies a compensation scheme in the event that any of these institutions enters into insolvency proceedings or is declared insolvent by the CNMV.

If one of these situations arises, and as a result of it, the institution is unable to repay or return to its clients the cash and securities they have entrusted to it, the FOGAIN will provide coverage and compensate those clients up to a maximum of €100,000 for clients of institutions that enter into one of these situations after October 11, 2008.

The FOGAIN also covers clients of SGIICs that have entrusted one of these institutions with securities and cash to manage portfolios, provided that the institution in question has entered into one of the above-mentioned insolvency situations.

31The applicable rules are contained in Royal Decree Law 16/2011 of October 14, 2011 on the creation of the Deposit Guarantee Fund for Credit Institutions and Royal Decree 2606/1996 of December 20, 1996 on the Legal Regime governing Deposit Guarantee Funds. The latter was recently amended by Law 11/2015 of June 18, 2015 on the recovery and resolution of credit institutions and investment firms and by Royal Decree 1012/2015 of November 6, 2015 which lays down the enabling regulations for Law 11/2015 of June 18, 2015 on the recovery and resolution of credit institutions and investment firms and amends Royal Decree 2606/1996 of December 20, 1996 on deposit guarantee funds for credit institutions, through which Directive 2014/49/EU of April 16, 2014 for the harmonization of the functioning of deposit guarantee schemes throughout the European Union is transposed into Spanish legislation.