We decide on a case-by-case basis whether an assessment interview is needed. We do not invite everyone to an assessment interview; we complete the majority of the assessments without an assessment interview. If a clear picture emerges from our files, we may come down in favour of the appointment without initiating an interview. If we need more information, we invite the appointee for an assessment interview.
We may wish to see an appointee to further probe the items from the file that were unclear. The significance of the position or the circumstances at an institution may also provide grounds for an interview. As a rule, we are more likely to invite appointees nominated for the position of CEO, chair of the management board, chair of the supervisory board or supervisory council, or, in the case of a pension fund, member of the investment committee or investment advisory committee.
We have found that interviews typically go smoother if appointees come well-prepared, and are supported in this by the institution. For instance, appointees should have familiarised themselves with the institution, its products and services, its governance structure and its corporate culture. We recommend that the appointee reads public and internal documents and meets with members of the management board, the supervisory board, key function holders and, in the case of a pension fund, the members of the management board, supervisory council, the stakeholder body and the investment advisory committee. This provides an appointee with an understanding of relevant trends and market developments, legal and regulatory requirements, the main challenges and bottlenecks for the organisation and possible issues at play. If necessary, an institution may have the appointee sign a non-disclosure agreement in order to provide him or her with sufficient understanding of how the institution works.
We contact the appointee by telephone or email to schedule the interview, and confirm the agreed date and time in an email invitation. The invitation will specify with whom they will be speaking (including their job titles).
Two or three DNB officers attend the assessment interview: a specialist from the Expert Centre on Fit & Proper Assessments and one or two of the institution's account supervisors. The latter may also include a department head or division director. If the appointee’s proposed position is at a significant bank under direct European banking supervision, ECB staff members may attend the interview, which will then be held in English. A staff member, head of department or director of the Dutch Authority for the Financial Markets (AFM) may also attend the interview if the circumstances so require.
If the appointee so wishes, he or she can be assisted during the assessment interview, for example by a representative of the nominating institution.
As a rule, the interview takes place in the Netherlands. If the assessment is carried out within the framework of the single European banking supervision, the interview may, by mutual agreement, also take place in Frankfurt. During the period of COVID restrictions, almost all assessment interviews were held using a digital video link. As long as no COVID restrictions are in place, in any case as from 1 May 2022, most of the assessment interviews will again take place at the office of De Nederlandsche Bank. Certain assessment interviews may, at our request, still take place online, such as fact-finding interviews or interviews in which the interviewee resides abroad.
We will ask questions about the appointee’s expertise and competences, their knowledge of the composition of the board as a whole and its functioning. The interview is not an exam-type meeting with yes/no questions fired at the appointee. The idea is to have an open and frank discussion – typically lasting no more than an hour and a half.
If the first interview does not give us a clear and comprehensive picture, we will schedule a second interview. This involves other DNB officers, and it is always attended by a senior manager. The appointee will be informed in advance of the reason for the second interview.
Based on the interview and the other information available to us, we draw up a proposed decision. We cannot tell the appointee our decision straight after the interview, but will first discuss it among ourselves. We aim to inform the appointee as soon as possible. Significant banks must also take into account the procedures prescribed by the ECB.