These findings emerge from a poll in the DNB Household Survey (DHS) held in late march 2012 among a representative sample of Dutch residents aged 16 and over. The response ratio was 77% or 2272 persons.
Confidence of households in the financial sector fails to recover
|Date||20 June 2012|
The annual survey held by DNB among Dutch households shows that confidence in the financial sector has so far failed to materialise. Public confidence in Dutch financial institutions fell sharply during the 2006–09 period, bounced back somewhat in 2010, but has since hovered around levels substantially below those prevailing before the financial crisis. Confidence in the banks has risen slightly compared to last year; confidence in life insurers has remained roughly stable, while confidence in pension funds has declined. Public confidence in DNB increased for the first time in five years.
Respondents’ confidence in their own life insurer remained unchanged from last year, at 73% (see Figure 1).
Respondents' confidence in their own pension fund fell from 62% in 2011 to 55% this year (see Figure 1). This is 30 percentage points below the 2007 level and significantly below the outcome for banks and insurers. This is likely to be due to intended cuts in pension rights, the continuing debate on the future of the pension system and the extension of working-age years beyond age 65.
The opinion of the competence and integrity of directors of financial institutions – which already flagged last year – turns out to have declined even further. Notably, directors’ moral standards are held in far lower esteem than their competence. The response to the statement that directors are competent is 36% positive and 21% negative. However, the statement that directors uphold high moral standards received a meagre 18% positive response and a negative response as high as 35%. In 2006, by contrast, only 7.8% of the public disagreed with the statement that directors tend to have ‘competence and integrity’.
Public confidence in DNB increased for the first time in five years. The number of respondents reporting strong or very strong confidence in DNB rose from 66% to 70%. Even so, however, pre-crisis confidence levels used to be considerably higher. Confidence in DNB remains structurally higher than confidence in businesses, national politics or the civil service.
 “Are you currently confident that the bank or banks to which you have entrusted your money will at all times be able to repay that money in full?”
 “Are you confident that the life insurance company you have contracted a policy or policies with will be able to pay your benefit(s) as agreed?”
 “Are you confident that the pension fund or funds managing your pension assets will, in time, be able to pay out your pension?”
 “Indicate your agreement with the following statements. A. Generally speaking, directors of financial institutions are competent. B. Generally speaking, directors of financial institutions uphold high moral standards.”