Belgium’s financial supervisory authority (FSMA) has approved a European pension fund for US multinational General Electric, understood to be the cross-border fund the company would like some of its existing Europe-based pension schemes to join.
The FSMA authorised the GE European Pension Fund last Wednesday, 21 September.
The fund takes the legal form of an Organisme de Financement de Pensions (OFP), Belgium’s IORP-compliant vehicle for pensions provision.
GE did not return requests for comment by the time of publication, but it is well-known that the multinational has been considering launching a cross-border pension fund in Belgium, and Dutch GE-affiliated pension schemes have been debating joining such a fund.
IPE understands that there have also been discussions about including General Electric’s Irish pension assets in such a pan-European fund.
The Belgian government has been keen to establish the country as a host for cross-border IORPs, with the Finance Ministry expected to announce further measures in the coming weeks to make it more attractive for funds to base themselves in Belgium.
Daniel Bacquelaine, the finance minister, reportedly met with MasterCard to discuss a potential cross-border fund in Belgium when he was on a trip in the US in June.
Earlier this year, the Belgian regulator said it estimated that several billion of euros of Dutch pension assets could be transferred to Belgium-based IORPs over the next year if Dutch companies followed through with their current plans.
The Dutch pension fund for BP aims to relocate to Belgium this year, with the company’s Irish, Spanish and Swiss pension funds having done so already, while ExxonMobil has said it would like to relocate its Dutch pension scheme to Belgium.
The FMSA’s website does not yet show an approved auditor for the GE European Pension Fund, but a daily management committee has been set up for the fund.
The fund looks to have first been registered in December 2014, according to company documents.