A new law revising mortality tables and easing investment restrictions is expected to be passed by the Belgium parliament next month and come into force in the new year.

Willie Santermans, a partner at William M Mercer International in Brussels warns that legislation had been promised for the start of both 1996 and 1997 but he adds that this time the government seemed firmly committed to the change.

The key change will be to investment restrictions which currently require funds to invest at least 15% of their assets in Belgian government bonds.

There should be less restrictive rules for investments. They won't be drastically changed but they will be changed," he says.

"For the time being you need a minimum 15% of assets invested in Belgium state bonds and that condition will fall. Emphasis will shift to maxima for different in-vestments."

Funds are likely to be prevented from investing more than 10% in a single stock while unconvention-al investment categories such as works of art may be prohibited."