A Pension Fund Bares Its Teeth

Holland's ABP is turning activist--and other funds may follow

The largest pension fund in the Netherlands used to be content as a silent shareholder. But that was then. Unhappy with losses and the management structure at Baan Co., the Dutch software maker, Algemeen Burgerlijk Pensioenfonds helped force founders Paul and Jan Baan off the supervisory board last year. This month, ABP expects sugar processor CSM to let stockholders vote for the first time. Now it plans to step up pressure for greater shareholder control at such Dutch blue chips as bank ABN Amro, supermarket giant Ahold, and KLM Royal Dutch Airlines. Says Chief Legal Officer Rene Maatman: "The owners' voice should be heard."

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