PFA Pension’s chairman has demanded a statement from the company’s chief executive Henrik Heideby to explain how and why the company is using an advertising agency partly owned by his son.

Denmark’s largest commercial pensions provider came under fire recently in Danish newspaper Berlingske Tidende for being a long-term major client of advertising agency Umwelt, which, according to the paper, is 16% owned by Heideby’s son Mikkel Heideby.

Mikkel Heideby is one of four partners in the agency and also has the role of contact director.

The newspaper reports suggested the situation represented at least a potential conflict of interest. 

PFA chairman Svend Askær responded with a letter to the newspaper, saying: “Against the background of the article in Berlingske Tidende, I have asked Henrik Heideby for a statement to the supervisory board, so we can have it made clear what is going on in this case.”

When the statement is available, the board will deal with it, he said.

“The board is of the opinion there should not be business relationships with companies in which there are family relationships,” Askær said in the letter.

“When we have dealt with the case within the board, we must at the same time assess the need to tighten up the conditions around PFA’s general policy surrounding business relationships with companies in which PFA staff have family relationships.”

A spokesman for PFA Pension confirmed the wording of Askær’s letter but said the company had no comment on the matter.

According to the news reports, PFA and Umwelt have worked closely together since 2008.

PFA, after statutory pension fund ATP, is Denmark’s largest pension fund, with DKK417bn (€56bn) in assets at the end of 2013.

It is run as a commercial enterprise but owned by its customers.