Q&A: John Hele, ING’s CFO on his business

John Hele, outgoing group cfo ing

John Hele

Q: How is ING managing the business in the current market

A: ING is managing its business quite well. Our business is about gathering
savings, savings of all types, and reinvesting those back into the economy,
whether it be through investments or loans or mortgages. And our fundamental
business is being well executed, even in all this market turmoil.

Now the market turmoil does have an impact on us, because we invest in
equities and other forms of investments that were up a few years ago and they’re
down a bit now.

But in relation to our total balance sheet, the strength of ING Group, it
allows us to continue doing our business carefully and prudently, but
nevertheless continue to do our business.

Q: So you’re saying that you are comfortable with ING’s balance

A: I’m comfortable with our balance sheet, I’m comfortable with our risk
position and I’m comfortable with our capital position. And it’s in relation to
the overall risk we see that we have.

Now we’re not immune and we have to be prudent and careful. You know we
target to be an AA

We’ve been recently reaffirmed by all the three major rating agencies and we
actually have a little excess over the targets that we have today.

We’re planning on keeping that prudent buffer for the next while because this
is quite a storm we’re in, and it pays to have a little excess right now.

Q: And are you having to take any steps to reduce your risk?

A: We’ve been carefully thinking about our risk. We have been reducing our
equity exposure over the last year. We’ve been putting some hedges in place. We
raised capital in advance for a good part of this year, so we’re well
capitalised heading into this latter half of the year. And we’ve been also
selectively thinking about the risks we’re taking on our books.

We’ve put caps on our growth in terms of our loans and we’ve been seeking
higher returns from the loans that we are taking. So not only have we been
preparing for this storm we’re in, but we’re prudently thinking about how we’re
adding business even right now.

Q: Earlier this year you introduced some new KPIs. What are

A: Our strategy is about collecting savings and reinvesting those into the
economy. And the KPIs track the true client balances on which we earned fees and
revenues. So it’s a very easy way for someone to see how we are doing, how we
are executing on our strategy. We added €30bn in the last quarter to bring us up
to almost €1.5 trillion of client balances.

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