Pressure mounts for Dijsselbloem

POSTED: 02/5/13 11:41 AM

THE HAGUE – Pressure is mounting on Finance Minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem to take some sort of action against the former senior executives of financial services group SNS Reaal, which was nationalized on Friday.

Labor leader Diederik Samsom told in a television talk show he felt bonuses paid to the former SNS Reaal executives should be clawed back.

They received ‘fat bonuses’ for work that in retrospect worked out badly. ‘You could try and get the bonus back,’ Samsom said.

But Dijsselbloem pointed out later on current affairs show Buitenhof that this would not be possible. Legislation making bonus claw backs an option is not yet through the upper House of Parliament, he said.

MPs have called on the government to do all it can to get back bonuses paid to senior executives. They and Labor Ministers have also criticized the €550,000 ($ 726,000) pay package for new Chief Executive Gerard van Olphen.

It is ‘a very large amount,’ Social Affairs Minister Jetta Klijnsma said.

Much of the blame for the financial problems facing SNS Reaal has been laid at the door of Sjoerd van Keulen, who pushed through the purchase of Bouwfonds Property Finance in 2006.

He left the company in 2009 and is now chairman of Holland Financial Centre, an organization largely funded by national and local government to strengthen the Netherlands’ reputation as leading financial city.

According to the Parool, the €2.75 million ($3.6 million) subsidy the center gets from Amsterdam city council is due to end this year and alderman Carolien Gehrels has refused to say whether or not the funding will continue.

The Volkskrant reports that Dijsselbloem thinks it would be appropriate if Van Keulen were to step down as HFC chairman.

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