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Entry into force of the 2020 Code

If a company has opted for the early implementation of the CCA between 1 May 2019 and 31 December 2019, which Code on Corporate Governance should it apply when drawing up its corporate governance report for the financial year starting in 2019? For example, should a listed company that has decided to implement the CCA from 1 September 2019 and whose financial year runs from 1 January 2019 to 31 December 2019 apply the 2020 Code for the entire financial year or not?

The Royal Decree of 12 May 2019 set the 2020 Code as the benchmark code pursuant to Article 3:6, §2 CCA.

If a company has not opted for the early implementation of the CCA, the 2020 Code will only apply to them for financial years ending on or after 1 January 2020. For financial years starting on 1 January 2020, the 2020 Code will apply to accounts for that year in the annual report published in 2021. The 2009 Code will continue to apply for the 2019 financial year.

For those companies that have decided to implement the CCA early, the 2020 Code will apply for the 2019 financial year. According to the 2020 Code (point 4), once the Royal Decree of 12 May 2019 enters into force, companies may "choose to apply the [2020] Code for reporting years beginning on or after 1 January 2019 ('optional application')".

As such, companies that have opted for the early implementation of the CCA are free to choose, pursuant to the 2020 Code applicable to them, whether to adopt this Code for the 2019 financial year or to continue applying the 2009 Code for said financial year.