MPs from across the political spectrum have condemned the €550,000 pay deal for new SNS chief executive Gerard van Olphen, with Labour describing it as ‘bizarre’.
Banking and insurance group SNS Reaal was nationalised last week, after running into serious financial trouble with its property investments.
In a parliamentary debate on Wednesday evening, finance minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem said the government had no option other than to intervene in order to stop the country’s fourth biggest financial services group from collapsing.
The minister also defended Van Olphen’s pay package, which he said was necessary to attract an expert to the job.
‘I need someone who understands this profession, who has experience in the financial world and who is a banker through and through,’ Dijsselbloem said.
Banks are not in the public sector and agreed limits to public sector pay (no more than 130% of a minister’s salary) do not apply, he said.
Labour MP Henk Nijboer, who earlier described the salary package as ‘bizarrely high’, said he would accept the minister’s explanation, leading to jeers from the opposition benches
‘This is a dog barking for his audience and then refusing to bite when asked,’ ChristenUnie MP Carola Schouten said.
Dijsselbloem also told MPs it would be difficult to try to claw back bonuses from former SNS executives who were responsible for the problems. ‘I understand people are angry, but I do not want to give rise to false expectations,’ Nos television quoted the minister as saying.