Besides being the main source of independent information for the Dutch investor, the VEB is widely known for its collective redress (VEB actions) – lawsuits typically brought to obtain compensation for groups of aggrieved shareholders.
|Who||Main advocate for Dutch investors|
|Core activities||Providing support (including collective redress) and independent information about investing|
|Successes||Over EUR 2 billion in compensation for investors in various legal cases over the past years|
||90 years ago (1924)|
|Type of organisation||Not-for-profit (association)|
|Core values||Independent, knowledgeable, critical, and determined|
42,000 retail VEB members
> 1 million Dutch investors
Why become a VEB member?
Foreign investors can also benefit and join ongoing VEB actions. We are currently involved in three major cases, in addition to a number of smaller cases. More information in English on the major cases against SNS Reaal, Fortis and Ahold is given below.
Investors who have made a loss on their investment in any of these companies may want to consider joining the VEB. The compensation awarded in a successful VEB action tends to be higher or exclusively available to VEB members, as has happened in recent cases such as the ones against Fortis, KPNQwest, World Online, and Imtech. VEB membership can therefore make a crucial difference.
How to become a member
You can become a retail member for as little as EUR 60 a year (web membership for retail investors). This ensures your participation in currently pending VEB actions.
Interested in becoming a member? Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Institutional/professional investor? You might be eligible for a 'VEB partnership'. Please contact us at email@example.com
Major ongoing VEB actions
On 1 February 2014, all shareholders and subordinate bondholders of the Dutch-based bank and insurance company SNS Reaal lost their stake in the company when their shares and bonds were expropriated by the Dutch Finance Minister, Jeroen Dijsselbloem. The reason for taking this measure was a threatened bankruptcy.
Despite the losses sustained, the aggrieved investors were offered no compensation by the Dutch government. The VEB finds this unacceptable and has brought an action for damages. We are also investigating the course of events leading up to the expropriation.
The VEB had filed an action against Fortis over the developments that occurred during the period from 21 September 2007 until the date when Fortis was nationalised. The Fortis management made a series of missteps and misled investors on a range of issues. Compensation was sought from Fortis (present Ageas), former executives of Fortis and from the banks that arranged and led the share issue in 2008.
In March 2016 a settlement was reached. Fortis-investors are advised to read information and updates on www.FORsettlement.com.
The Ahold accounting scandal was one of the most controversial in the history of the Dutch stock market. In the period from 30 July 1999 until 23 February 2003, the retailer reported false information about the profits made by one of its subsidiaries. After successfully reaching a settlement with Ahold in 2005, the VEB is now suing auditor Deloitte for approving the company’s financial statements for the years in which the fraud was committed.
1. Do you have any indication as to how long a collective redress will take and what the compensation will be?
We are unable to say whether, and how long it will take before, any of our actions will lead to compensation being awarded. This is due mainly to the unpredictability of legal proceedings and negotiations. In some cases, we were able to obtain compensation within just a few years, in other cases it took us more than ten years.
2. Can I also register the shares held by my spouse and/or children?
In order to participate in a VEB action, each shareholder will need to become a VEB member. That includes your children. Your spouse can participate in a VEB action through your VEB membership only if you are married in community of property (and hence have shared ownership of the shares). In that case, you can add your spouse’s shares to your own total.
3. I held shares in the name of my company, can I still join an ongoing, open VEB action?
Yes, you can. Please note that your VEB membership must be registered to the name of the company that bought the shares. Sometimes investors own shares privately as well as in the name of their company. In such cases, it will be necessary to have two separate memberships.
If you are a professional or an institutional investor (for example, a pension fund, hedge fund, proprietary trader or day trader), please note that you must register as an institutional investor in order to be ensured of participation in our group actions. For more information on acceptance criteria, fees and conditions of institutional membership, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
4. Can you give an indication as to what the conditions are to be eligible for compensation?
VEB membership can make an important difference. We are primarily acting on behalf of our members. This means that any settlement reached may well only be available to them.
Typically, you will need to have made a net loss on your investment during the relevant period, meaning that any losses incurred must be set off against any profits made.
For each VEB action, we will try to establish an indicative relevant time period (period over which we believe aggrieved investors should be paid compensation). Please note that this period may change later as a result of legal proceedings or negotiations.
If you owned the shares in question prior to the start of the relevant period, it will depend on the terms of the settlement whether you will be eligible for compensation.
5. In the event of a successful action, how do I prove that I bought the shares?
When a settlement is reached, the settlement process is usually outsourced to a specialised administrator (’claims administrator‘).Participants will need to submit transaction statements from banks or brokers to show that they owned the relevant shares.
Although the specific requirements will depend on the claims administrator, there are some general conditions that apply to most of the settlements we have reached.
1. The authentic transaction statement(s) must provide a complete overview of shares held and/or purchased, showing all the transactions made within the relevant period and the number of shares held during the relevant period.
2. The shareholder’s name (typically the VEB member) must be stated in the documentation. The claimant is responsible for correctly submitting the proper documents in order to be eligible for the compensation obtained by the VEB. The claims administrator decides whether a claim is valid.
6. How can I pay the membership fee?
If you have a European bank account, we will debit you for the annual membership fee in the first month of the (new) subscription year. If you do not have a European bank account, we will send you an email with the payment details, so that you can transfer the money yourself. An administrative fee of EUR 5 will then be applicable (resulting in a total of EUR60 per year). Please, note that our annual membership fee is subject to change, to be decided in our yearly annual member meeting.
7. Are there any additional costs involved in joining a VEB action?
If you are a VEB member, you can join all our open actions. We have never charged any additional fees so far.
8. How will I be kept informed about the progress in the case(s) I have joined?
All the relevant information is published in our monthly magazine 'Effect', which we send to all of our members either by post or by email. We aim to publish important updates in English as well.
9. How do I cancel my membership?
If you wish to cancel your membership, please send an email to email@example.com, quoting your member ID.
10. Can I cancel my membership at any time?
Yes, you can. Please, bear in mind that your VEB membership is automatically extended every year. If you wish to cancel your membership, you will need to do so until 4 weeks before the start of the new subscription year.