Belgian minister pledges to remove obstacles facing cross-border funds
Belgian’s pension minister hopes to lure a greater number of cross-border pension funds to the country, pledging to work with the Finance Ministry to ensure an “attractive” framework for schemes is in place.
Giving the keynote address on the second day of the IPE Conference & Awards in Barcelona, Daniel Bacquelaine outlined a number of recent reforms he said would ensure the future sustainability of the Belgian pension system.
He also highlighted the role Belgium could play as host nation to cross-border pension funds, which can set up in the country using its organisation for financing pensions (OFP).
Bacquelaine noted agreements in place to avoid double taxation as one of the reasons Belgium was attractive for cross-border activities, of which 11 are currently in place.
This number is well behind the 50 located in Ireland and the UK, and only a fraction of the 75 known to the European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority (EIOPA)
But Bacquelaine pledged that the government would work on attracting new funds to base themselves in Belgium.
“The government will ensure Belgium keeps on being an attractive place for the pan-European pension fund,” he said.
“I am intent on taking measures, together with my colleague the finance minister, to remove administrative obstacles.”
Moves to Belgium have proven controversial.
The Dutch scheme for Bristol-Myers was the latest in a string of funds to see a cross-border transfer blocked by its works council, representing the interests of employees.
Concerns over less stringent regulatory structures in Belgium have also led to concerns of regulatory arbitrage.
The French regulator allegedly advised pension fund UMR not to move its assets to an OFP, a step that was in 2013 investigated by the European Commission.