On 2 September 2009, the Netherlands Authority for the Financial Markets (AFM) imposed an administrative fine of 120,000 Euros on BNP Paribas S.A. (BNP), established in France. The AFM has established that BNP, for almost a year, failed to report the capital interest of one of its subsidiaries in a closed end investment firm listed on Euronext.
It concerned an interest of BNP subsidiary Cardif Assurance Vie S.A. in Volta Finance Limited (Volta), which exceeded a threshold value of, in this case, 10%. As parent company, BNP was obliged to notify pursuant to Article 5:45, third paragraph of the Wft (a party is considered to dispose of the shares and voting rights held by its subsidiary).
This constitutes a violation of the obligation to notify the AFM immediately if the percentage of the capital attains, exceeds or falls below a threshold value (Article 5:38, first paragraph, Act on Financial Supervision). This notification is mandatory, in order to provide investors and companies insight into the interests of major shareholders. Investors were deprived of the opportunity to make an informed (correctly) and substantiated assessment of the rights of participation in Volta, as a result of BNP's failure to notify in time that its interest (via its subsidiary Cardif) in a company had increased.
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The AFM promotes fairness and transparency within financial markets. We are the independent supervisory authority for the savings, lending, investment and insurance markets. The AFM promotes the conscientious provision of financial services to consumers and supervises the honest and efficient operation of the capital markets. Our aim is to improve consumers’ and the business sector’s confidence in the financial markets, both in the Netherlands and abroad. In performing this task the AFM contributes to the prosperity and economic reputation of the Netherlands.
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