Roundtable - Jan Kallf, chairman of the managing board, ABN-Amro
Do you expect there to be further consolidation in the world banking industry?
Kalff: There is no doubt that there will be extensive further consolidation in the world banking industry. Most countries are overbanked and certainly overbranched. In the increasingly competitive environment low costs are essential, and therefore larger scale. This will cause hundreds of mergers and takeovers every year in the developed countries alone.
Will there be large-scale cross-border as well as domestic bank mergers?
Kalff: The consolidation will take place for the most part through takeovers, but also mergers will occur. As in a merger the transaction itself, but certainly also the all-important work that has to be done afterwards, is more complicated than in an acquisition. [Therefore] the number of mergers will be relatively low. This is certainly the case with cross-border mergers, where differences in culture, management style, language, corporate governance and other sensitive but important elements play a much bigger role than in the case of a local merger.
Do you see banking consolidation putting any downward pressure on professional salaries?
Kalff: The result of banking consolidation will be that there will be a greater divergence between the top and lower quartile in professional salaries.