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Advice Sustainable Finance Lab

Yesterday evening Herman Wijffels presented the 9 recommendations of the Sustainable Finance Lab to app 300 people and two politicians. The meeting could be followed online (see: www.sustainablefinancelab.nl). Many familiar faces were there.

In brief the message was: we need to regain trust from the tax payer and the customers of the financial institutions. We recommend the following:
1 Financial institutions should not be allowed to make money with money for their own benefit (see Volcker Rule)
2 No bonusses for bankers
3 Increase capital to 12-15%
4 Was too specific for me (and many others in the room)
5 New financial products should be tested first by an external party
6 Give the future of ABN AMRO another thought
7 Environmental and social risks should be incorporated
8 Increase diversity in financial institutions (and work on the software of bankers)
9 Design a transparant set of ‘standard’ banking products that all banks sell

The audience missed a few topics that were discussed in earlier meetings (Role of the Supervisory Board, ethics of bankers, Dutch guarantee system between banks, tax on financial transactions). Herman confessed that these recommendations were a first step and compromise between the Lab members.
The added value of the Lab is that the little change in the financial system after the 2008 crisis is being addressed again by influential people. The audience was nog convinced if this was enough. ‘If you’re sitting on a pile of gold, more is needed to get you off,’ was one of the comments. Still it’s great that from within the system people are trying to address the topics. But it’s strange that afer watching ‘Inside Job’ there is not more outrage in the streets. The occupied movement is small in the Netherlands and the we didn’t wake up.
To me there is even another role for the financial institutions: make us think about the role of money and debt and stimulate this discussion.

In the spring of 2012 the lab will organize more meetings. I would be interested in alternatives for the current banks that we’re having: banks based on social media, the ideas Google has with their over 100 banking licences all over the world, new local currencies and so on. Within 10 years I don’t expect that we still have banks as we have today (and I think even in less than 5 years the financial system will be turned upside down). It’s time for a sensing journey to the periphery of the current system!

Download the recommendations in Dutch here and for the Dutch speakers view Nieuwsuur: http://nieuwsuur.nl/onderwerp/316633-wijffels-over-toekomst-financiele-sector.html

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