“It’s Principles, Not Rules that Matter"

Hans van der Noordaa, CEO Retail Banking Benelux, ING


Hans van der Noordaa

Hans van der Noordaa overlooks the economic landscape from a unique vantage point: the Management Board of ING, one of the leading global financial institutions. Over the last three decades, he has lived through the industry’s highs and lows, most recently as member of the Management Board Insurance and CEO of the business lines Insurance Europe and Insurance Asia/Pacific.

After participating in the joint HBS-CEIBS-IESE Global CEO Program for China, he discussed where the financial sector stands today and where it is headed with The IESE Alumni Magazine.

Who’s responsible for the current crisis

"We've experienced enormous growth over the past 30-40 years and growth always has side effects, such as greed. Society has been very focused on producing wealth faster and faster with a lot of leverage and once in a while society and the economy go through a period of correction.

“We're in the middle of a reset because we thought there were unlimited opportunities and that's not true. Banks loaned too much but governments were also ambiguous and spent a lot of money, so we all share responsibility.”

Changes in the financial sector

"There really has been a transformation of the financial sector because the caps on capital and liquidity requirement will clearly have an impact on the stability of the sector, so I see this as irreversible change."

"I think we have enough regulation but implementation and compliance has been a weaker point. Banks had too much leverage and not enough capital. We always respond to problems by making new rules but it's not always the solution. It's also a question of business ethics. People need to be driven not just by the rules but by their principles."

European Banking Union

"We're a bit stuck because we've created a monetary union but without fiscal integration. The difficulty is that politicians get their power through controlling taxation and spending. So it's going to go slowly and may well diverge more before it converges. The ECB needs to become the equivalent of the U.S. Federal Reserve."

The global consumer

"One of the key things I learned in IESE's Global CEO Program was that consumer behavior is increasingly converging. There used to be big differences between countries. What has happened is that the world is so connected now that if a small thing happens far away that 10 or 15 years ago would have passed unnoticed in other parts of the world, now it gets amplified through the media, Internet and social media. The global consumer is really taking off."

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