Test Achats intends to contact the Minister of Finance, Johan Van Overtveldt, to request that the transfer of retirement savings funds between banks remain free of cost for the consumer, the organization said Friday. As of January, BNP Paribas Fortis will charge 150 euros for this operation. “Unacceptable!’’ Test Achats says.
Some 4 million Belgians save for their retirement, according to figures from the Febelfin Bank Federation. An investor who is not satisfied with the fund’s performance or management cannot sell his shares without being heavily taxed, but has the right to request a transfer to another retirement savings funds without a tax penalty, Test Achats recalls.
However, as of next January, BNP Paribas Fortis will charge this transfer to another bank at 150 euros per holding, the consumer organization deplores. It denounces “a totally unreasonable doubling of costs and taking investors as hostages,’’ which hinders competition.
“Especially considering that retirement savings are subsidized by the government and that banks, therefore, already benefit from enormous commissions,” Jean-Philippe Ducart, spokesman of Test Achats, says. Fortis receives annually about 55 million euros revenue for the management of these funds, according to the organization.
Test Achats pleads that the banning of closure costs on savings accounts might also apply to retirement savings funds. The organization will send a letter to the Minister of Finance demanding that a transfer between banks be also free of cost.