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'Too early for Fortis EGM', say funds (Update)

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  • 'Too early for Fortis EGM', say funds (Update)

NETHERLANDS - A number of large Dutch pension fund and pension fund providers have stamped a unanimous 'no' against shareholder organisations VEB's call for an extraordinary general meeting (EGM) of Fortis' shareholders.

The VEB has called on shareholders to register their Fortis share in order to unite 10% of the share capital and demand an EGM.

But pension provider and fiduciary manager Mn Services and SPF Beheer, asset manager of the €14bn Dutch national rail pension fund, today joined ABP in stating this is not the time to schedule such a meeting at Fortis and that structural changes are needed.

The €205bn pension fund ABP told IPE last week it did not see the need for an EGM, since other issues such as the financial health and its operational structure after the integration of ABN Amro are currently more important for the Belgian-Dutch financials group.

That said, the fund is still calling for Fortis to make proposals to change its governance structure. (See earlier IPE story: ABP calls for governance change at Fortis)

SPF Beheer commented: "We do not see any value in an additional shareholdersmeeting; we think that structural measures are necessary, which are not obtainable through an extra meeting of shareholders."

A spokesman for Mn Services told IPE today an EGM would require a shareholders vote, though no vote is required to say Fortis needs to emphasise improving its financial health.

According to Mn Services, the organisation has also done enough in recent weeks to communicate with shareholders, as the spokesman stressed "there are other ways to communicate than at an EGM".

A spokeswoman for PGGM, the asset manager of the second-largest Dutch pension fund PFZW, told IPE today an EGM is a good way of informing shareholders, though declined to comment whether it has registered its share capital.

So far, only 6,000 retail investors have given their support to VEB's call for an EGM.

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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