Dutch finance minister called to heel over high frequency trader bonuses

Photo: DutchNews.nl

Finance minister Wopke Hoekstra has been called to heel by his coalition partners over plans to exempt high frequency trading houses from new rules on bonuses, the Financieele Dagblad said on thursday.

Hoekstra said earlier this week that he wanted to exempt companies which trade for their own account from the 20% bonus ceiling, which is due to come into effect in 2020.

He argued at the time that implementing the bonus ceiling would lead to a ‘substantial part’ of Amsterdam’s trading industry leaving the country.

However, three of the four coalition parties, including Hoekstra’s own CDA, do not agree and say they want the minister to refrain from taking any ‘irreversible steps’ pending a European review of the bonus rules in two years’ time.

Companies such as FlowTraders, TMF Optiver and IMC are among the high speed trading houses based in the Netherlands and, according to the Financieele Dagblad, have a tradition of paying their staff relatively low salaries and large bonuses.

The Netherlands imposes stricter regulations for financial sector bonuses than the rest of the European Union. Bankers in the Netherlands can receive a maximum of 20% of their fixed salary as a bonus each year. The maximum in the rest of the EU is 100% of regular pay.

However, these regulations are politically sensitive. The banks themselves and other critics argue they hinder companies and their employees from settling in the Netherlands. In particular, they say, the bonus cap is a barrier to large banks faced with leaving London in the wake of Brexit.

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