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Initial assessment– fitness assessment: fit for the position


Practical examples may help candidates prepare for the assessment. The examples below are intended to provide candidates and institutions with some pointers as to what De Nederlandsche Bank (DNB) considers important with respect to assessments. All examples have been anonymised, and specific details have been omitted.

Published: 25 April 2017

Specific expertise, but no strong knowledge of or experience in the financial sector

A large insurance company proposed a candidate for a supervisory board position. According to the documentation supplied, the candidate was to contribute specific IT expertise to the supervisory board. This expertise was clear from the candidate's CV. The candidate had no experience in the financial sector, however, but this was acknowledged in the documents. The file described what actions the candidate had taken to familiarise himself with the sector and the insurance business in general, and with the institution in particular. The file also contained an overview of the distribution of knowledge and expertise within the board as a whole. The candidate had talked to the chairs of the supervisory and management boards, the chair of the Risk and Audit Committee, the CFO and the CRO. He had also embarked on an internal training programme, focusing on risk management, Solvency II and relevant legislation. He would complete this programme within the next six months. He had attended two supervisory board meetings and discussed the relevant documents prior to these meetings with the actuary and the risk manager. Based on our preliminary investigation, we had a clear picture of this candidate and the board as a whole. The other board members provided more than enough of the necessary insurance-related knowledge and financial expertise. There were no special circumstances with respect to the institution. We therefore issued a positive decision without interviewing the candidate.

Impact of formal measures on the assessment process

A candidate was nominated as a management board member at a trust office on which we had imposed an administrative fine and an instruction. The deficiencies leading to these measures could not be attributed to the candidate, whom we already knew as an adequate board member of the trust office's parent company. In close consultation with us, the candidate had set a firm new course at the parent company, and planned to implement the same approach at the subsidiary company. We therefore assessed the candidate as fit for the position without interviewing him.

Time commitment

We invited a candidate for a supervisory board membership for an interview because she also held a demanding position in another sector. During the interview, she appeared to be well-informed of the developments within the institution and Solvency II. Moreover, she provided examples of additional related activities, such as attending committee meetings as an observer. We therefore found that the candidate could devote sufficient time to her proposed position as a supervisory board member, and issued a positive decision.

Experience abroad

We asked a proposed director of an insurance company who had gained extensive experience at several foreign insurance companies about his vision of the Dutch insurance market. His response revealed that he had come to the interview well-prepared. He was familiar with the Dutch insurance market, was able to explain the insurance company's strategy and set out how he intended to follow up on it as a management board member. The candidate's international perspective clearly provided added value to the board as a whole. We therefore issued a positive decision.

Added value to the board as a whole

A candidate's CV revealed that she had organisational and executive skills, but lacked relevant knowledge about pensions. We therefore invited her for an assessment interview. The candidate took the initiative during the interview, and her responses to our questions about organisational policy and fund-specific characteristics were well-substantiated. She also indicated relevant improvement objectives, and the role she intended to play in achieving them. Her lack of knowledge about pensions could temporarily be compensated for by the other board members. We therefore issued a positive decision.

Motivation for career step

An experienced director of a subsidiary of a large financial enterprise moved to a much smaller financial enterprise in the same sector. Although the application file seemed to be in order, it was not clear to us why the candidate had decided on this career move. We therefore invited him for an assessment interview. During the interview, he explained that he wanted to take a step back, but at the same time wished to contribute his knowledge to a company where he could still make a difference. If this motivation had been included in the file, it would not have been necessary to interview him. We issued a positive decision.