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Swedish Top Banker Boycotts Secret Meeting

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19 May 2010 12:32
Johan Nylander

The European bank organisation, Institut International d’Etudes Bancaires (IIEB), has been described as a secret club for top bankers.

Its three-day annual spring conference in Stockholm, hosted by the Swedish banks Handelsbanken, SEB and Nordea, is being slammed for its lack of insight.

“If it happened in the construction industry it would be called a cartel. But IIEB has never had any problems,” a former member told business daily Dagens Industri.

The agenda, which has not been made public, is a mixture of seminars, discussions, dining and shopping. Tabloid Expressen describes the conference as a “lavish banquet with expensive dinners and mingling with the Swedish royals”.

The Riksbank’s governor Stefan Ingves will hold a speech on regulatory frameworks and the capitalisation of banks, according to its website. SEB’s main shareholder the Wallenberg family will arrange a lunch for the bankers in one of the family’s villas.

Annika Falkengren, head of SEB, is said to be the driving force behind the beanfeast. But the three banks now seem to have fallen out after different opinion on who will pick up the bill and the ethics of secrecy.

The chief executive officer of Handelsbanken, Pär Boman, has decided to turn his back on the conference.

“We have two comments. First, the program should not be conducted in secret. The press should be invited when we are facing these turbulent crisis. And second, the costs of dinners and happenings,” John Lagerström, press officer at Handelsbanken, told TV4 business news.

The bank organization is an exclusive members club and was officially founded in 1951. But there’s little information to be found about the society.

“You don’t talk about IIEB”, the former member told the business daily.

The conference kicks of Thursday.

Some of the participants:
• Josef Ackermann, CEO Deutsche Bank
• Klaus-Peter Müller, chairman Commerzbank
• Frédéric Oudéa, chairman and CEO Société Générale
• Baron David de Rothschild, senior partner Rothschild & Cie Banque
• Peter Straarup, CEO Danske Bank
• Pier Francesco Saviotti, CEO Banco Popolare
• Marcus Agius, chairman Barclays Bank
Source: DI

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