In Germany and all over the EU, the disclosure of voting rights in listed companies has reached significant practical importance for investors, including portfolio managers and fund management companies. This is partially due to the very complex legal framework, in particular as regards the attribution of voting rights to parties who are not the legal owners of the shares.
The provisions of the EU Transparency Directive and the Transparency Implementation Directive have been implemented into German law. However, the Transparency Directive is a minimum harmonisation Directive and the provisions for voting rights disclosure were, as of 19 August 2008, amended by the Risk Limitation Act. However, some of the amendments of the Risk Limitation Act will only come into effect in March and May 2009. Due to the amendments, additional disclosure requirements will apply and the legal consequences of non-compliance will become more severe.