EUROPE – Mutuelle Médicis, a €2.5bn French pension fund, has watered down its original plans to launch a cross-border fund in Belgium, arguing that it "no longer matched its strategy".  

An executive at Mutuelle Médicis confirmed that the scheme originally planned to launch an organisation for financing pensions (OFP) fund in Belgium fund, but abandoned the idea recently.

The executive denied having come under any pressure from French authorities and said the OFP fund was merely no longer "in line with the scheme's long-term strategy".

Last week, the €10.2bn French pension fund UMR claimed to have put its plan to launch an OFP fund in Belgium on hold after receiving a letter from French regulators.

A source close to the situation told IPE  the French insurance and pension funds authority – the Autorité de Contrôle des Assurances et des Mutuelles (ACAM) – "advised" the scheme to keep its activities within the country.

The source went on to say that the letter in itself did not constitute a formal interdiction preventing UMR from moving its activities to Belgium, but said it would be "unwise" for UMR to ignore the letter, in light of the activities it plans to keep in France.  

Under the plans originally set by the scheme, the Nantes-based pension fund aimed to relocate all of its second-pillar activities to Belgium in September last year, but retain its third-pillar business in France.

UMR's supervisory board is now in talks with French authorities to negotiate the move of its second-pillar activities to Belgium, according to the same source.

Contacted by IPE yesterday, Charles Vaquier, chief executive at UMR, declined to confirm the information.

The ACAM also declined to comment.