along at the most convenient moment, the acquisition of Insinger de Beaufort represents a valuable opportunity to build a private client business, which would require long and costly efforts if we had to start it up from scratch.

At the end of July, BNP made a formal offer to the Insinger de Beaufort shareholders for 68% of the capital. However, the shareholders deemed the offer price too low and, in spite of some last-minute negotiations, the deal did not go through.

1994-2010

In 1994, Guy Sancerres was appointed to head up the Bank in Amsterdam. The organisation in the Netherlands now comprised: the headquarters in Amsterdam, which mainly dealt with major corporate clients; the Rotterdam branch, which specialised in commodity financing; and the Nijmegen branch. The Bank had a portfolio of around 200 clients, among them major Dutch companies and subsidiaries of French companies. Staff numbered 110.

In 2000, when BNP and Paribas merged, Paul-Fran├žois Gauvin was appointed Head of BNP Paribas in the Netherlands and Belgium. The idea at the time was that the two countries could share resources and functional departments. However, experience soon showed the limits of this kind of resource-sharing as there were clear differences between the two organisations, especially as regards commercial strategy. In 2003, a BNP Paribas Belgique manager was appointed and the two entities went back to being independent of each other.

Paul-Fran├žois Gauvin describes the business of BNP Paribas in the Netherlands at that time: Between 2000 and 2004, we did a large amount of business financing major Dutch companies, especially in structured finance. Moreover, we had a substantial amount of fiduciary deposit business passed to us by Swiss banks on behalf of their clients. The very high volume of deposits in turn generated a substantial treasury business, as we supplied liquidity to the rest of the Group.

The Corporate market constituted the Bank s main business and it was highly competitive, as Michel de Vibraye, Head of BNP Paribas Netherlands from 2004 to 2008 recalls: The Dutch market was fiercely competitive and difficult. Because London was so close, the Netherlands was a hunting ground that was thoroughly exploited by the British banks and the subsidiaries of US banks based in London.

The merger of BNP and Paribas in the Netherlands

At the time of the merger, BNP Paribas Amsterdam took over the business of BNP Amsterdam plus the business and staff of Paribas in the Netherlands. This comprised a representative office, with an asset management representative and representatives of the investment banking arm Paribas Affaires Industrielles.