The Enterprise Chamber rejects a request for an investigation at Triodos Bank. According to the judges of the Amsterdam Court of Appeal, the bank’s past policy may be questioned in some respects, but an investigation would not be in the interest of both Triodos and the depository receipt holders who had initiated the case.
It concerns trading in certificates, a type of shares that cannot be traded on the stock exchange. Triodos had stopped trading in these certificates a few years ago because the internal trading system used was no longer tenable. After that, holders of depositary receipts could not access their invested capital.
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Problems have been looming for a long time
According to the Enterprise Chamber, Triodos already knew in 2017 that problems were imminent. The bank should have investigated possible solutions earlier, the judges ruled. But otherwise there would be ‘no valid reasons’ to doubt the state of affairs at Triodos.
After trading in the certificates was suspended in March 2020, an extensive investigation followed. Triodos ultimately opted to arrange trading in certificates via a listing on an external trading platform. As a result, the certificate holders can sell their certificates again after three years.
In October last year, a foundation that represents the interests of depositary receipt holders asked the Enterprise Chamber to conduct an investigation. Then all the facts and circumstances could be retrieved from the bank that led to the suspension of trading in the Triodos certificates.
But the Enterprise Chamber believes that initiating its own investigation could delay the process that has now started at Triodos. As a result, the certificate holders would only have to wait longer and that could have a negative impact on the demand for the certificates on the trading platform. ‘A weighing of the interests involved therefore leads to the request for an investigation being rejected.’
Criticism of certificates
Triodos has received a lot of criticism in recent years about the course of events regarding certificates. The VEB, an interest group for private investors, previously pointed out that there are many certificate holders who had invested between 40,000 and 80,000 euros in the alternative shares. Due to the bank’s intervention, they could not access money for, for example, their pension.