Robeco bonuses break rules says central bank, as it approves them

The Dutch central bank has approved a payout of €33m in bonuses to 53 executives at investment fund group Robeco, even though the deal breaks its own rules, RTL news reports on Tuesday.

The bonuses stem from the takeover of Robeco by Japanese investment group Ornix, which was finalised on Monday after a long period of negotiations. Robeco was the investment arm of cooperative bank Rabobank.

Rabobank told RTL the bonuses were intended to ensure key staff remain on board during the takeover and to ‘guarantee the continuation of the company’.

‘It is completely normal to ensure important members of staff stay on board during such a period,’ the Rabobank spokesman is quoted as saying. ‘This is in the interest of customers, the staff and the buyer.’

No and yes

However, RTL news has obtained a letter sent by the central bank in October last year. In the letter the bank says ‘the transaction bonus conflicts with article 13 of the rules on remuneration policy’.

The bank then goes on to say ‘the central bank is voting in favour of this proposed transaction bonus… as a one-off and without prejudice’.

RTL says approval for the bonuses is noteworthy because the central bank drew up the policy on executive bonuses itself, and secondly because finance minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem has made an issue out of reducing such large payouts.

Dijsselbloem told RTL news on Tuesday the decision to pay the bonuses is ‘dubious’. ‘It goes against the spirit of the times and the social climate,’ he said.

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