Handling confidential information in a society that demands transparency

Occasionally ABN AMRO receives signals that a client may be in breach of the bank’s sustainability policies (for example in relation to human rights, the environment or working conditions). The bank is sometimes called upon, for example by non-governmental organisations (NGOs), to be open about the relationships we have with these clients.

ABN AMRO will not make public any client details, nor conversations and arrangements with clients. Clients must be able to trust that their data are safe with the bank. In the event of a possible infringement of bank policy, ABN AMRO will engage with the client and conduct a broader investigation. If the indications prove to be well-founded, but we believe there is a sufficient chance of an improvement, we will make agreements with the client on this. This engagement procedure often lasts between three and five years. During that period, ABN AMRO and the client will remain in dialogue and we will monitor progress closely. If the agreed goals have not been achieved after that period, we may potentially end the relationship with the client.

In such cases, ABN AMRO tries to explain to NGOs why it is not making confidential data public. At the same time, we try to persuade clients in an engagement procedure of the benefits of greater openness. We think this approach gives us the best chance of genuinely improving a situation whilst still respecting the confidentiality of the client relationship.