On 7 April 2009 the Advisory Committee on the Future of Banks in the Netherlands (the Maas Committee) presented its report ‘Restoring trust’. The committee was set up in November 2008 by the board of the Netherlands Bankers’ Association. Its main task was to make recommendations to improve the functioning of the Dutch banking sector and suggest ways to restore confidence in banks.

The report is divided into four chapters:

  1. Governance and risk management;
  2. Public role of banks (remuneration policy and shareholder structure);
  3. Supervision and regulation (supervision, European supervision, deposit guarantee scheme); and
  4. Future of banks in the Netherlands.

Each chapter contains recommendations most of which can be regarded as practical advice to the Dutch banks. In the introduction, the committee indicates that the recommendations (73 in total) can be characterized as best practices which can be implemented in the short term, but that they are also of a structural nature. In the committee’s view, the recommendations set out in chapters 1 and 2 are of a compulsory nature and subject to the comply or explain principle. The committee believes that these recommendations should be implemented as soon as possible.

In his response to the report, the Minister of Finance notes that with regard to the following recommendations he expects swift implementation in the financial sector:

  • the recommendations to improve banks’ risk management. Failing risk management appears to have been a major contributing factor to the financial crisis; and
  • the recommendations for mitigation and restructuring of the remuneration policy, following from arrangements made in the gentlemen’s agreement on 30 March 2009 between the Minister and the majority of the financial sector.3

The Minister intends to present his vision on the financial sector to parliament at the start of the summer.

The Netherlands Bankers’ Association announced on 11 June that the recommendations of the Maas Committee will be incorporated into a Banking Code. The Code will be drawn up in cooperation with the Ministry of Finance and form a guideline for the future of the banking sector. Compliance with the Code will be monitored by a newly created Monitoring Committee. The Association aims to present the Code this autumn.

Letter Minister of Finance regarding report Maas Committee (in Dutch)

Report Restoring trust Press release Netherlands Bankers’ Association (in Dutch)