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Institutions in arms against VDM changes

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  • Institutions in arms against VDM changes

NETHERLANDS - Major pension funds ABP and PFZW today said they have demanded securities trading firm Van der Moolen (VDM) withdraw its increase to the threshold at which shareholders can put issues on the company's agenda.

Shareholder rights group VEB said in a statement today, together with the two funds, it has written to VDM and asked it to withdraw an adjustment the company made following an extraordinary general meeting (EGM) on March 18.

In the letter, VEB-head Jan Maarten Slagter noted shareholders now need to hold at least 3% of the company's shares, instead of the previous 1%, before they can propose agenda points.

Peter Borgdorff, director of PFZW, told IPE today: "PFZW is against the increasing of the threshold to coin agenda points at the annual general meeting (AGM) for shareholders," and added the fund wants the possibility for institutional investors to propose matters to remain open.

"The current proposal gives too much space to the governing board and the supervisory board, where the shareholders should be the ones involved in the company policy. Not just some shareholders, but all relevant shareholders," concluded Borgdorff.

VDM today declined to comment, arguing the governing board had received the letter and will now decide on what action to take.

Elsewhere, the Dutch Association of Insurance Companies (Verbond van Verzekeraars) has said it will appeal against an earlier Dutch court ruling, deciding PFZW's fund manager PGGM may continue to call itself ‘PGGM'.

PFZW - previously known as PGGM - was taken to court by the association which claimed the fund practiced unfair competition by applying the PGGM name to its admin operation.

However, the court decided the transfer of the name PGGM from the pension fund - which only recently had the name change to PFZW - to its new investment manager is lawful.

A spokesman for PGGM told IPE the firm feels confident it will also win the appeal procedure.

If you have any comments you would like to add to this or any other story, contact Carolyn Bandel on +44 (0)20 7261 4622 or email carolyn.bandel@ipe.com

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