Christoph Van der Elst

De wet deugdelijk vennootschapsbestuur

WP 2002-13

In July 2002, the Belgian Parliament voted a new bill to modernise corporate law and to introduce a number of "corporate governance' innovations". These innovations include: force companies to nominate an identified individual to represent the company as a board member. This individual will be liable as if he was the board member; strengthen the independence of auditors: a cooling-off period of two years has been introduced, the company's auditor will no longer be allowed to provide a number of nonaudit services for the audited firm, an independent external committee will analyse, onrequest, whether certain specific non-audit services impair the independence of the auditor. This bill also imposes an additional procedure if the value of the non-audit services exceeds the value of the audit service; allow public limited companies to install a particular two tier board regime; new rules to solve conflicts of interests within groups of companies; allow companies to organise a "written" general meeting; to facilitate investors to take part in general meetings by requiring shareholders to be registered at a registration date. This paper briefly describes the new law and focuses on some of the difficulties for the practice of the accountant and the tax consultant.