ING chief seeks return of 2008’s bonuses

23rd March 2009, Comments 0 comments

About 1,200 senior managers of ING have been asked to give up their payouts from 2008.

THE NETHERLANDS – The head of the supervisory board at Dutch banking and insurance giant ING on Monday made a "moral appeal" to 1,200 senior managers to return the bonuses paid to them in 2008.

In an interview with De Volkskrant, ING chief Jan Hommen said while it was impossible to scrap the bonuses, he was asking top ING employees to give up their payouts from 2008.

"This is a moral appeal," Jan Hommen said. "We are asking 1,200 of our highest-level employees to do without their bonuses for 2008."

According to Hommen, some managers say they are prepared to do so, but is unable to confirm the number.

In addition, ING will not pay any bonuses this year following much criticism when ING - one of the Dutch banks that received a government bailout of EUR 10 billion to weather the financial crisis - paid out EUR 300 million in bonuses last year.

Hommen said ING would distribute no bonuses to workers this year, adding that "a new salary policy," which would offer bonuses "if ING's overall results are positive" would be drafted early in 2010.

He also apologised over the misunderstanding caused by the bank’s decision to give incoming chief financial officer Patrick Flynn 100,000 shares as a golden hello.

The shares are not a bonus, clarifies the ING’s CEO. Instead, they are a form of compensation for leaving his previous position.

Finance Minister Wouter Bos who had reacted angrily to the news, is consider blocking 2008 bonuses at financial institutions that received state aid if they surpass terms worked out in negotiations between companies and unions, a finance ministry spokesman said Monday.

He said he will be writing to the Lower House to investigate the possibility of claiming back bonuses and variable rewards from government-supported banks for the current year.

According to a spokesperson, Bos is also looking into the possibility of placing a legal ceiling on bonuses, and whether a bonus tax – similar to the US taxation system – can be levied.

Radio Netherlands / AFP / Expatica

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