The Portuguese Government expressly stated in its government program the commitment to adopt “initiatives to encourage foreign investment in Portugal“. This objective becomes particularly important in sectors that require capitalization, such as the financial sector, where the companies need to attract significant investment, including foreign investment, in the context of an open economy such as the Portuguese.

Decree-Law 20/2016 was approved on April 20, 2016 which, in line with the above-mentioned commitment, grants to the shareholders of the credit institutions the possibility to periodically reevaluate the justification of statutory limits on detention and exercise of voting rights. The revaluation should take place, each five years (maximum). If no decision is taken, the existing limits shall automatically expire.

As an additional element of balance of the solution, it is also foreseen that, when the reassessment resolution is proposed by the board of directors any existing limits respecting detention and exercise of voting rights, as well special quorums or voting majorities other than legal, do not apply to this resolution.

It also established a transitional regime for credit institutions whose bylaws currently provide for statutory limits on detention and exercise of voting rights, so that they can carry out such reassessment within a reasonable time. They must take a resolution until December 31, 2016. If no decision is taken, the limits shall automatically expire.

In the European and global market, the corporate governance model is one of the most decisive factors for obtaining financing. In this sense, these measures respecting the limits to the exercise of voting rights by shareholders, may promote sustainable companies and return their ability to make strategic decisions.