The Brussels-based Caisse de Pré-voyance (CPM) pension scheme for the Belgian medical profession is very pleased at the outcome of a court case that could have threatened its financial stability.

The Belgian court has ruled in CPM's favour on two issues, where its position had been challenged by in-surers anxious to offer pension products to the profession.

The first concerned the money the state makes available, currently Bfr65,000 ($1,860) for doctors who are part of a regularly negotiated deal on tariffs they charge within the social security system.

Rose-Marie Hermosa, director general of CPM, says this money can only be used by doctors to contribute to a complementary pension through CPM, or else to buy disability insurance from an insurer.

The insurance industry claimed that there was not fair competition be-tween itself and CPM, which had a monopoly regarding the complemenatry pension.

Also the insurers challenged the ability of the doctors to obtain full tax deductibility on any contributions that they voluntatily made to the CPM. This they claimed was discriminatory as it is more favourable treatment than applies to pensions ar-ranged with insurance companies.

The court ruled that the competition rules did not apply as CPM was not a commercial enterprise and did not come under the scope of the EU directives. The court said that we are an organisation participating in the system of social security, which we are very pleased about", says Hermosa.

The case could be appealed to the European court, which would take some years before a ruling is made.

Hermosa says: "It would be by the year 200 by the time we get an answer!"

Fennell Betson"