The material on this site is for financial institutions, professional investors and their professional advisers. It is for information only. Please read our Terms & Conditions, Privacy Policy and Cookies before using this site.

All material subject to strictly enforced copyright laws. © 2021 Euromoney, a part of the Euromoney Institutional Investor PLC.
Banking

Cooperative banking: Heemskerk blames the shareholder cult

The retiring chairman of Rabobank urges a new model of bank ownership; The view from a survivor is that the worst may be to come

Bert Heemskerk, Rabobank

"We were a core holding because we were a safe institution that paid stable dividends year in and year out"

Bert Heemskerk, Rabobank

Bert Heemskerk retired last month after serving for seven years as chairman of the executive board of Rabobank. It is not just the Dutch cooperative bank that will miss him. His book on the credit crisis came out last month in Dutch. It will probably be a very good read. Heemskerk studied philosophy, theology and macroeconomics before starting his banking career at Amro Bank in 1969. He looks more like a prize fighter than a philosopher.

For Heemskerk, the cult of shareholder value lies behind the ruin of modern-day banking. He says: "From when I started at Amro in 1969 until I left in 1981, I doubt the share price rose by a single penny. And do you know what? The big pension funds, the large institutional investors, they all absolutely loved us. We were a core holding because we were a safe institution that paid stable dividends year in and year out.

You have reached premium content. Please log in to continue reading.

Read beyond the headlines with Euromoney

For over 50 years, our readers have looked to Euromoney to stay informed about the issues that matter in the international banking and financial markets. Find out more about our different levels of access below.

SUBSCRIBE ONLINE TODAY

Unlimited access to Euromoney.com and Asiamoney.com

Expert comment, long reads and in-depth analysis interviews with senior finance professionals

Access the results of our market-leading annual surveys across core financial services

Access the results of our annual awards, including the world-renowned Awards for Excellence

Your print copy of Euromoney magazine delivered monthly

£73.75 per month

Billed Annually

FREE 7 DAY TRIAL

Unlimited access to Euromoney.com and Asiamoney.com, including our top stories, long reads, expert analysis, and the results of our annual surveys and awards

Sign up to any of our newsletters, curated by our editors

LOGIN NOW

Already a user?

We use cookies to provide a personalized site experience.
By continuing to use & browse the site you agree to our Privacy Policy.
I agree