We always shudder slightly when we discuss ABN Amro, since nothing ever seems straightforward in the ongoing saga of the Dutch bank. However, this time at least nobody has died. In 2015, we notedthat Chris Van Eeghen, head of the bank’s corporate finance and capital markets ‘startled’ friends and colleagues after the ‘always cheerful’ banker reportedly committed suicide. Van Eeghen was the fourth ABN banker suicide since the financial crisis.
When it comes to bonuses, ABN also has a chequered history. The Dutch government nationalised the bank at the height of the financial crisis at a cost to Dutch taxpayers of 22 billion Euros. There was a national outcry in 2015 over bonuses ABN paid to its top executives, as Business Insider reported.
Public outcry over bankers’ bonuses is pretty common, but the anger sweeping the Netherlands, over nationalised ABN Amro’s executive pay packets is on a completely different level. Over the last week, Dutch newspapers Financieele Dagblad and NOS (Holland’s version of the BBC), and other media outlets were awash with debates over the justification of how ABN Amro’s high ranking executives were getting huge bonuses ahead of the bank being re-privatised.
In fact, the outcry was, and continues to be, so bad that Dutch finance minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem delayed the IPO of the nationalised bank at the end of March because the row over giving six executives a 100,000 (73,000) bonus on top of their salaries escalated so greatly.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 1, 2017.