Central bank under fire over ABN Amro

The Dutch small investors lobby group VEB has lodged a complaint with the central bank over comments by its chairman Nout Wellink, who said a hedge fund’s efforts to split up ABN Amro were ‘a bridge too far’.

The VEB said the bank should stick to its supervisory role and not get involved in a discussion about the bank’s performance. Wellink told the NRC newspaper on Saturday that the bank would closely monitor developments. A bank was more than an ordinary stock exchange listed company, he told the NRC. ‘A bank represents broader public interests.’
British hedge fund TCI, which claims to have over 1% of ABN Amro, says the bank is undervalued and should merge, sell or spin off some of its assets.
The Financial Times Deutschland quotes European internal market commissioner Charlie McCreevy as also warning Wellink not to get involved. “Everyone has the right to move freely within the legal framework of capital markets,’ he said.
However, the Dutch consumers organisation Consumentenbond has also expressed its concern about TCI’s action. ‘You do not know what kind of consequences this can have for people who save and invest in a bank,’ a spokesman told ANP.
MPs decided on Monday to hold a parliamentary hearing into the role of hedge funds in the Netherlands. While shareholders in Dutch companies have been traditionally restricted in their role, healthy companies should not be ‘put up for sale’ for the sake of it, said VVD (liberal) MP Frans Weekers. ‘I want to hear all sides of the argument.’

Thank you for donating to DutchNews.nl.

We could not provide the Dutch News service, and keep it free of charge, without the generous support of our readers. Your donations allow us to report on issues you tell us matter, and provide you with a summary of the most important Dutch news each day.

Make a donation