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Supreme Court pronounces on Article 30 AOP: a deficit must be covered, no matter the cause
Topics Pensions

Supreme Court pronounces on Article 30 AOP: a deficit must be covered, no matter the cause

Date:
21 Apr 2017

The Supreme Court ruled in a judgment of 6 March 2017 that the organiser of a pension promise must cover deficits of the vested reserves, as well as deficits regarding the minimum guaranteed return, no matter the causes of the deficits.

Article 30 of the Act of 28 April 2003 on Occupational Pensions (“AOP”) states that an organiser must cover deficits of the vested reserves, as well as deficits regarding the guarantees provided in Article 24 of the AOP (the minimum guaranteed return), at the time of departure. 

In a judgment of 25 June 2014 concerning the liquidation of a pension provider, the Labour Tribunal of Antwerp ordered the organiser of a pension promise to cover the deficits regarding the minimum guaranteed return. The organiser was in particular ordered to pay the difference between the amounts granted to the employee due to the liquidation of the pension provider and the minimum guaranteed return.

The organiser went to the Supreme Court to challenge this judgment. He argued that he could not be held responsible to pay the deficits, since these deficits were not caused by any mistake or negligence on his part.  

The Supreme Court rejected this argument in its judgment of 6 March 2017. The Court ruled that it follows from Articles 24 §§1-2 and 30 of the AOP that the organiser must cover deficits of the vested reserves, as well as deficits of the guarantees provided in Article 24 of the AOP, at the time of departure. The causes of the deficits are irrelevant.

> Key message 
The organiser of a pension promise must cover deficits of the vested reserves, as well as deficits regarding the guaranteed return provided in Article 24 of the AOP. The reasons which caused the deficits, such as the liquidation or the bankruptcy of the pension provider, are of no importance.