Coalition takes on bankers’ bonuses, limits them to 20% of salary

Finance minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem on Tuesday presented his plans for financial sector pay to parliament, including a 20% ceiling on bankers’ bonuses in the Netherlands.

The minister aims to bring to an end the ‘perverse stimuli’ of enormous bonuses, Dijsselbloem said in an interview with tv broadcaster RTL Z.

Tuesday’s draft bill is based on the coalition agreement between Dijsselbloem’s party Labour and government partners the liberal VVD. That agreement says financial sector bonuses should be no higher than 20% of the annual salary.

‘The maximum of 20% applies to everyone who works in the Dutch financial sector,’ Dijsselbloem told RTL Z.


However, there are exceptions. For instance, people working for Dutch institutions in other European countries will have a bonus ceiling of 100% and for those working outside Europe the ceiling is 200%, RTL Z says.

The finance minister says this is essential to provide ‘a level international playing field’ and to make Dutch companies attractive to work for in a highly competitive sector.

The new rules will apply from January 1 2015 providing the legislation is passed by both houses of parliament.

Dijsselbloem’s plans go further than the bonus limits being discussed at a European level and are also opposed by the Dutch banking association.


Just 2% of the 90,000 bank workers in the Netherlands receive performance related pay of at least 20% of their salary,’ the association told Nos television. 

Dutch banks are already working hard to improve the financial sector culture, with, for example, the introduction of an oath. ‘Separate rules for Dutch banks will disadvantage them within Europe,’ the organisation said.

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