You’re an old hand when it comes to supervision. What drives you?
‘As a supervisor you have a huge responsibility, since ultimately you are helping to safeguard the financial interests of all Dutch citizens. We want to contribute to that – and the institutions we supervise are entitled to expect it. As a supervisor, you are constantly going in search of new solutions and do everything you can to prevent things from going wrong. That’s where the challenge lies. What’s more, although supervision always remains supervision, a great deal has changed in the last few years.’
Have you always been a supervisor?
‘No, I studied econometrics at Groningen University, graduating in 1985, and economics at Amsterdam University, graduating in 1989. I then spent 15 years working in the Financial Markets Division of DNB. In 2003 I transferred to supervision, but I still really see myself as a financial markets man through and through. I do occasionally miss the dynamism of the financial markets. As a supervisor, you’re not exactly in the middle of the playing field, but more on the sidelines. Not that you’re standing still. On the contrary: I make considerable use of my market knowledge and experience and the relevant instruments and institutions. I’ve done many financial transactions with banks. That practical experience now stands me in very good stead.’
Will the nature of banking supervision change following your arrival?
‘No, our approach to supervision won’t change straightaway. We’ve set ourselves a specific course of action over the past year, largely in response to international developments. The aim is to achieve a more decisive and penetrating supervision. As a result, we now have a new approach and new working methods; we do more supervision based on particular themes and focus more closely on where the risks lie. I want to continue actively pursuing this strategy.’
What’s your first priority?
‘Lending. I know the financial markets very well, but the bank lending file is still rather new to me. So I’ll start by immersing myself in that. I want to familiarise myself as quickly as possible with the key players in the banking community and make specific visits to banks to get to grips with this area.’