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Dutch Bankers Must Take Oath to Put Client First, De Jager Says

Dutch bankers and insurers will have to pledge an oath to put their clients’ interests first in a government bid to improve confidence in the financial sector.

“With these measures, we’re taking an important step in the right direction to restore the moral authority of the sector,” Dutch Finance Minister Jan Kees de Jager wrote in a letter to parliament today. The oath, which will be enforced by regulator AFM, is part of new financial regulations scheduled to take effect on Jan. 1, 2013.

The Dutch spent about 30 billion euros ($39 billion) on the 2008 bailout of Fortis’s Dutch units, including its stake in ABN Amro Holding NV. Separate aid for ING Groep NV, SNS Reaal NV, Aegon NV and the collapse of DSB Bank NV and Landsbanki Islands hf’s Dutch Icesave unit drove up costs for the state and the banking sector, respectively.

A parliamentary committee on April 11 concluded that the previous Dutch government made “large errors” in its bailouts of Fortis, ABN Amro and ING, pushing up risks and costs for taxpayers. The committee in 2010 said the central bank’s supervision of DSB and Icesave had been insufficient.

Separately, De Jager said he will expand government supervision to include hedge funds and credit-rating companies. The measures also include a ban on banks paying bonuses to executives while receiving state aid.

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