The Insurance Court has ruled on numerous cases concerning a pension fund's right to debit extra premiums for 2011 from its member shareholders (gasoline retailers), after it went into liquidation in December 2011. The extra premiums totalled more than €13 million. The liquidator of the pension fund was obliged, along with other pension providers, to implement an insurance portfolio transfer plan. The extra debiting was intended to increase the working capital to meet the solvency requirements so that an insurance portfolio transfer would be possible. Extra debiting was divided according to the shareholders' salary payments. Three hundred and fourteen shareholders were dissatisfied and appealed. The Pension Appeal Board rejected the appeals in Autumn 2013.
The court overruled the board's decisions in April and May 2015. The court found that the debiting was not in line with the Insurance Fund Act. It confirmed that, in principle, the liquidated pension fund was entitled to collect the premiums from the accounting period preceding the liquidation in order to meet the solvency requirements.
However, the court found that the transfer of the insurance portfolio first required the realisation of the fund's assets and held that only a secondary option can collect extra premiums. The court emphasised that the purpose of the act's amendments was to restrain the growth of the premiums, and that the solvency requirements must be satisfied by other means before debiting shareholders.
The court held that as the pension fund was declared to be in liquidation over three years earlier, the two-year time limit for the liquidation process had been exceeded. During that time the situation had changed substantially. The value of the RBS investment realised on September 9 2014 had increased by €15 million, which was more than the total sum of the extra premiums. The court therefore concluded that there was no need to debit the shareholders.
For further information on this topic please contact Matti Komonen at Hammarström Puhakka Partners, Attorneys Ltd by telephone (+358 9 474 2207) or email ([email protected]). The Hammarström Puhakka Partners, Attorneys Ltd website can be accessed at www.hpplaw.fi.
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