Capital markets 1986 1989

In January 1986, the Dutch Minister of Finance, Otto Ruding, announced measures to liberalise the Dutch market, among them removing the limit on international debt issues denominated in guilders. This meant that there was no longer any distinction between the domestic and international markets. BNP enjoyed a high profile in this market for bond issuance on behalf of Dutch borrowers, in the Euroflorin market, and in the share issuance market on behalf of Dutch corporates.

Among banks arranging bond issuance for Dutch borrowers, BNP moved up from second place in the rankings in 1986, with two issues, to first place the following year, with six issues. In 1987, the bank participated in two international capital increase issues by Philips and ABN. For capital market deals, the bank worked in tandem with the BNP Capital Markets teams in Paris and London, which led to BNP being chosen as the sole French bank involved in the privatisation of Dutch State Mines (DSM) and enabled it to obtain eight positions as co-manager in Euroflorin issues in 1988.

In 1987 the trading room facilities were markedly improved. A new room was set up, with brand-new telephone equipment, reinforcements on the dealing desks, the startup of bond trading and the creation of BNP Securities B.V., which became a member of the Amsterdam Stock Exchange. Moreover the bank enjoyed special relationships with major firms such as Royal Dutch Shell and Unilever, the largest and third-largest companies in the Netherlands.

Insinger de Beaufort

In late January 1990, the Head of BNP Amsterdam, Yves Lebidois, suggested that the Bank set up an asset management business on behalf of third parties. This made sense, given that the Netherlands is a rich country with a system of funded pension plans, a large number of people with medium-sized fortunes, and powerful institutional investors.

Around that time, Yves Lebidois took steps to set up a meeting with the Insinger de Beaufort Bank. At the time, a controlling interest in Insinger was held by a man named Kees Willems, who owned a 60% stake. Mr Willems expressed a willingness to sell his 60% holding, provided that he could find a buyer capable of ensuring that the business continued to flourish. Insinger had a portfolio of 2,300 clients with securities accounts, a clientele made up of both private individuals and charitable organisations and foundations, but it had no corporate clients whatsoever.

The idea was therefore to start up a private asset management business in the Netherlands by acquiring 60% of the capital of Insinger de Beaufort. In June the file was sent up to BNP general manager Jacques-Henri Wahl, who called for the negotiations to continue. The BNP top management team were of the opinion that even though this has not come

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