Tuesday 22 May 2018

Dutch revolt over banker's pay hike

A pedestrian walks past the logo of ING bank by the group's main office in Brussels. Photo: Reuters
A pedestrian walks past the logo of ING bank by the group's main office in Brussels. Photo: Reuters

Bart Meijer

The Dutch government is exploring ways to block a proposed 50pc pay increase for ING Group's chief executive, Finance Minister Wopke Hoekstra said yesterday.

The government "really wants ING to take this proposal off the table", Mr Hoekstra said.

"We will see what measures we can take to deal with this kind of situation."

ING sparked political outrage last week by saying it wants to raise the annual salary of Ralph Hamers to a maximum of just over €3m, as chairman Jeroen van der Veer said the CEO had been underpaid for years.

Parties representing 99pc of the seats in Dutch parliament condemned the proposed wage increase, which has quickly became a major issue ahead of local elections in the Netherlands on March 21. "We think it is a very unwise idea", Mr Hoekstra said. "This deals directly with the confidence we should be able to have in the banking sector. ING is not a cookie factory, it is a systematically important bank."

The minister said the government could look at changing laws on bankers' pay, but added that moral suasion could be another way to influence ING.

He declined to say whether he had been in contact with the Dutch lender in recent days.

Dutch politicians have tried to limit pay for bank executives since the financial crisis, including by limiting performance bonuses to a maximum of 20 percent of base salaries.

ING could not immediately be reached for comment yesterday.

The bank's shareholders will vote on the proposed pay rise at their annual meeting on April 23. (Reuters)

Irish Independent

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