Since Belgium introduced its unique legal framework for pan-European funds in 2007, it has continuously attracted the attention of multinationals. Today, 19 organizations have moved their employees’ pension funds to our country. In doing so, Aon joins the ranks of multinationals like BP, Johnson & Johnson, Euroclear, ExxonMobil and Nestlé. The fund is worth EUR 45 million, accounting for the pensions of 450 employees of Aon’s subsidiary Hewitt Netherlands.
The Belgian framework is unique in its flexibility. Rather than focusing on to-the-letter compliance, the Belgian regulator adopts a more pragmatic approach that concentrates on outcomes: if you put the regulations into practice coherently and prudently, you’re good to go.
For example: the legislation makes it possible to incorporate foreign social and labor laws into pension fund policies. And just two years ago, the government made things even more advantageous by exempting disbursements to non-residents from taxes if the pensioner has no connection to Belgium.
Altogether, the 19 funds are estimated to value EUR 25 billion. But that’s not the end of the story: Belgian sector federation PensioPlus aims to boost this number to EUR 100 billion by 2025. The upcoming national legislation following the European IORP directive should help in achieving that goal.
Additionally, all these new funds coming our way increases the need for accounting services, risk management and legal counseling. In this way, attracting pension funds indirectly creates numerous jobs for Flanders and Belgium as a whole.
With Dutch as its official language, Flanders (Dutch: Vlaanderen) is the northern region of Belgium. The capital of both Belgium and Flanders is Brussels.