Financial advisory services concerning the State's corporate holdings
The State of Finland holds interests in about fifty Finnish limited liability companies of major significance. Of these, twelve are publicly traded. Shareholder control in respect of state-owned companies operating on market terms is exercised by the Ownership Steering Department in the Prime Minister’s Office. Administrative responsibility for the ‘special assignment companies’ with specific state-defined duties falls to the individual ministries.
From time to time, the Government commissions ownership strategy reviews or other financial studies on these companies or undertakes measures that affect state holdings in one or several companies in one way or another. As a rule, the briefs to carry out such reviews or prepare and implement such measures are classified since they involve sensitive information regarding the State, the company concerned or potential other parties.
When carrying out these types of surveys and preparing and implementing measures, the Ownership Steering Department in the Prime Minister’s Office or the ministries with administrative responsibility usually rely on external advisers, primarily in financial and legal matters. The assignments given to financial advisers in particular may be so extensive that the total fees payable exceed the threshold values laid down in Council Directive 92/50/EEC of 18 June 1992 relating to the coordination of procedures for the award of public service contracts. However, because of the non-disclosure requirements described above, they cannot be put out to open tender.
To ensure that all advisers have an equal opportunity to offer their services, a shared contractor register has been created for use by all the Finnish ministries concerned to deal with classified projects exceeding said threshold values. The register of contractors maintained by the Ownership Steering Department in the Prime Minister’s Office is intended for all entities, such as investment banks, domiciled in any EU Member State and providing professional advisory services for strategic corporate planning or major restructuring purposes. Advisory services do not mean auditing services in this context.
Advisers willing to join the register are invited to send their contact details, complete with a certificate issued by the registration authority of their home country, a brief description of the services provided and details of the experience possessed in their respective sectors, by post, fax or e-mail to the Registry of the Prime Minister’s Office (address PO Box 23, FI-00023 Government, switchboard: +358 295 16001, fax +358 9 1602 2165, e-mail kirjaamo(at)vnk.fi). The message is to indicate the reference VNK/390/50/2009 and marked ‘Register of Contractors’.
New contractors are admitted and information may be submitted to the register at all times. Advisers who have submitted their details to the register, but discontinue to provide the services or whose activities undergo substantial changes, are required to promptly notify the Ownership Steering Department of such changes.
The practical arrangements for competitive bidding among advisors in respect of each survey or measure are made by the Ownership Steering Department or – in the case of a special assignment company – the ministry concerned in compliance with the procedure specified for classified projects. The contract will be awarded to one or several advisers who have submitted their details to the register of contractors at least one month earlier.