Financial Regulatory Forum

New Dutch banking code to take effect Jan. 1

September 9, 2009

nvb    AMSTERDAM, Sept 9 (Reuters) – The Netherlands Bankers’ Association has agreed a voluntary code of conduct that will limit the level of bonuses and strengthen corporate governance from Jan 1. 
   The NVB bank code follows a critical report in April on the future of the local banking system. It was spurred by the collapse or near-collapse of a number of Dutch banks during the worst of the credit crisis last October.
   The code also comes amid a growing worldwide crackdown on bank bonuses and conduct. A standard for capping bank bonuses is expected to be on the agenda for the Group of 20 economies when they meet later this month.
   Some of its strictest requirements are in the section on compensation. Members of the management board will have severance payments restricted, generally to one year’s salary, while variable compensation will be capped at the same level.
   The Dutch code repeatedly emphasizes the responsibility of managers and directors to balance the interests of customers, shareholders and employees when making decisions. It includes draft language for a code of moral conduct that top bankers will be required to sign.
   It addresses risk management in detail, calling for one management board member to oversee a bank’s risk profile and requiring annual supervisory board approval of management’s intended “risk appetite.”
   Supervisory board members will need relevant financial sector experience and cultural familiarity with a bank’s markets, according to the code. Their compensation, however, does not have to be linked to the bank’s performance.
   Beyond performance benchmarks, the code also calls for an independent review of the supervisory board every three years. 
   The banking association said banks will have to explain in their annual report how they did in complying with the code, and if they have not, why. The association said it will appoint, in consultation with the finance minister, an independent monitoring committee to review performance. (Reporting by Ben Berkowitz; Editing by Dan Lalor) ((ben.berkowitz@thomsonreuters.com; +31 20 504 5011; Reuters Messaging: ben.berkowitz.reuters.com@reuters.net))
 Keywords: DUTCH BANKS/
  
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 Wednesday, 09 September 2009 09:46:58RTRS [nL9716479] {EN}ENDS

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