Disclosure Requirements - Belgium
Disclosure Category: 2
In order to comply with the legislation as mentioned below, customers entering into transactions in the Belgian domestic market consent and are hereby deemed to consent to disclosure and to the appointment of the requestor (for example, the National Bank of Belgium) as their attorney-in-fact, under power of attorney to collect from Clearstream Banking such information as is required to be disclosed.
Customers who do not want to grant such authority to Clearstream Banking should refrain from holding such bonds in their account with Clearstream Banking.
Background and legal basis
The basis for the disclosure obligation is the Title II Disclosure of Major Holdings of the Law of 2 May 2007 on disclosure of major holdings in issuers whose shares are admitted to trading on a regulated market and laying down miscellaneous provisions. These provisions are also contained in new legislation to be entered into force on 1 September 2008 following royal approval (via Royal Decree AR 14 February 2008 relative to the disclosure of major holdings).
The disclosure obligation falls on the beneficial owner. The obligation of secrecy forbids Belgian banks (in this case, Clearstream Banking’s depositories: BNP Paribas Securities Services, Paris; KBC Securities, Brussels and ING Bank SA/NV) from disclosing the names and/or shareholdings of clients.
Obligation to report threshold crossings
The acquisition or transfer (or crossing of the threshold in a passive or indirect way) of securities of a company whose member state of origin is Belgium, listed on a regulated market of the European Economic Area (EEA), representing 5% or more of the actual or potential voting rights by a legal entity or individual must be declared to the issuer and to the Commission Bancaire, Financière et des Assurances (CBFA).
Note: The law allows companies to change the first threshold of 5% to 1%, 2%, 3%, 4% or 7.5% (without abolishing the 5% threshold) and some transactions are assimilated to this change.
Beneficial owners that do not comply with this law on threshold crossing may be subject to between 1 and 12 months imprisonment and/or a fine of between EUR 50 and EUR 10,000).
Reporting to the National Bank of Belgium (“NBB”)
Based on Article 16 of the Royal Decree of 26 May 1994 (as amended), the NBB requests all direct participants (including Clearstream Banking) to disclose, on a twice-monthly basis, the income amounts received by Belgian customers from NBB-eligible securities. This disclosure includes a report by type of instrument, payment date, identity of the direct customer of Clearstream Banking (who is a resident of Belgium for tax purposes) and the total income amounts received by the respective Clearstream Banking customer. Nevertheless, in cases where the securities are held by the Clearstream Banking customer on behalf of a third parties, the identity of the underlying beneficial owners remains undisclosed.
Furthermore, based on the Royal Decree of 23 January 1991 (as amended by the Royal Decree of 11 June 2001) and by other provisions of Belgian law, the NBB requests all direct participants (including Clearstream Banking) to disclose, on a quarterly basis and for localisation purposes only, all their global holdings in the different NBB-eligible securities. This disclosure includes a report by type of instrument and resident nationality of bondholder. Nevertheless, the identity of holders within Clearstream Banking, and of the underlying beneficial owners, remains undisclosed. This allows the NBB to publish quarterly statistics of financial investment in Belgium