20 July 2018

De Brauw partners Harm-Jan de Kluiver and Dennis Horeman reflect on the Fortis Settlement

Ten years have passed since the collapse of Fortis during the peak of the financial crisis in 2008; finally, on Friday 13 July, closure was provided with the Court of Amsterdam’s settlement ruling. De Brauw partners Harm-Jan de Kluiver and Dennis Horeman look back on the Fortis Settlement, over a decade in the making.

“This has been a complex and lengthy matter, with many parties involved and playing various roles in the many legal proceedings which were necessary to clarify and limit what events potentially could – or could not – be relevant, and to what extent. Following these proceedings, the parties engaged in long and intensive negotiations to reach settlement, involving all relevant parties as well as insurers who contributed to the solution. Eventually this resulted in a settlement of over EUR 1.3 billion, the largest of its kind in Europe.

It speaks to the unique strengths of our firm that we house the expertise to navigate all aspects of this highly complex matter over the course of many years, and in the end to succeed in bringing about a positive ending. We are much obliged to Ageas, the successful, Belgian-listed, and international insurance company that is the legal successor of Fortis, for the trust they have placed in De Brauw. Moreover, we are excited for Ageas, as well as for all other parties involved, that now, ten years after the peak of the credit crunch, a conclusion has been reached, which does justice to all involved (and to their interests) and which the court has explicitly ruled to be fair. Now, a line can be drawn under this unique case; to the benefit of those involved, and to the immense credit of all in our firm who worked so very hard to achieve it.

Although many colleagues were involved over the years, we cannot list here all who have played a valuable role in bringing this case to a close. However, in any case the name of Jan Willem Meijer should be mentioned whose work has been crucial for the outcome that was finally achieved. In addition we would like to mention Robbert Tan, Margreet Poot, Rob Polak, Celeste Dees, Peter van den Boom, Mecheline Gaaf, Ralph Ledeboer, Frank Hamming, Wiebe Dijkstra but there are many more colleagues to whom we are extremely grateful.”

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