Ralph Adrianus Joseph Gerardus Hamers (born 25 May 1966) is a Dutch businessman who is the UBS Group CEO. He was the chief executive officer (CEO) of Dutch bank ING Group from October 2013 until June 2020.
Prior to UBS, Hamers spent 29 years at Dutch bank ING Group.
Hamers joined ING in 1991 and was the CEO of ING between 1 October 2013 and June 2020. During his time as CEO, he steered the bank to profitability while repaying the Dutch government money it received during the financial crisis. Also under his leadership, ING invested heavily in its digital transformation, relying far more on its online offering and less on its branch network than most rivals, leading to the bank having one of the lowest cost-to-revenue ratios in Europe at the time.
In 2018, there was an uproar in the Netherlands following a proposal to raise Hamers' yearly salary from 1.6 million euro to 3 million euro. Following the uproar, the Board withdrew the offer, leaving his salary unchanged.
In December 2020, a Dutch court ordered the public prosecutor to open a probe into Hamer's involvement in his previous role as CEO of ING in the company's failure to comply with anti-money laundering regulations in 2018. Although the investigation was settled in 2018 with a €775 million fine paid by ING and, according to Bloomberg News, the public prosecutor stated that "it didn’t find enough evidence for criminal accusations against individuals at ING, including the top management", Hamers' investigation could continue into 2022 at the earliest.
UBS Group AG[nb 1] is a Swiss multinational investment bank and financial services company founded and based in Switzerland. Co-headquartered in the cities of Zürich and Basel, it maintains a presence in all major financial centres as the largest Swiss banking institution in the world. UBS client services are known for their strict bank–client confidentiality and culture of banking secrecy.[nb 2] Because of the bank's large positions in the Americas, EMEA, and Asia Pacific markets, the Financial Stability Board considers it a global systemically important bank.
UBS was founded in 1862 as the Bank in Winterthur alongside the advent of the Swiss banking industry. During the 1890s, the Swiss Bank Corporation (SBC) was founded, forming a private banking syndicate that expanded aided by Switzerland's international neutrality. In 1912, the Bank of Winterthur merged with Toggenburger Bank to form the Union Bank of Switzerland (UBS) and grew rapidly after the Banking Law of 1934 codified Swiss banking secrecy. Following decades of market competition between the SBC and UBS, the two merged in 1998 to create a single company known solely as "UBS".[nb 3] After UBS managed heavy losses during the 2008 financial crisis with an asset relief recovery program, it was hit by the 2011 rogue trader scandal resulting in a US$2 billion trading loss. In 2012 the bank reoriented itself around wealth management advisory services and limited its sell side operations.