PGGM conducts legal proceedings on behalf of its clients where necessary to recover investment losses and enforce good corporate conduct. We do that as a shareholder in listed companies, both in the Netherlands and abroad. We distinguish here between ‘active’ and ‘passive’ proceedings.
We sometimes opt for an active role in legal proceedings if we take the view that a company has acted improperly and our clients have suffered substantial financial losses as a result. In those cases, the main aim is to recover as much as possible of a loss suffered on the investment for our clients. By actively conducting proceedings, we also try to send a signal to the market that the company’s behaviour is unacceptable. These active proceedings can last a long time and be extremely costly; however, as our advisers provide support on a ‘no cure no pay’ basis, we do not run any risk of legal costs. In some proceedings, we content ourselves with ‘passive’ reporting of our claim. This is a primarily administrative process in which we can recover part of the damage suffered by our clients for minimum input and costs.
In 2019, we conducted nine active legal proceedings on behalf of our clients. Among other things, we joined group proceedings against Danske Bank, a major international bank in Denmark. Danske Bank became involved in a scandal concerning very extensive money laundering practices via the Danske Bank branch in Estonia. Danske Bank has been the subject of administrative and criminal investigations in connection with these money laundering practices since 2016. After the shareholders became aware of the information on these investigations, the market price of Danske Bank fell by tens of billions of euros and investors suffered damages as a result.