Seeking a merger partner

The fifth generation partners, Frederik Gustaaf Insinger and Henk van Asch van Wijck whose mother was born an Insinger set out to extend their client base through insurance broking. The name of the business was therefore changed to Insinger & Co., Bankiers en Assurantiebezorgers (Bankers and Insurance Brokers). However the planned expansion did not materialise and the company remained financially dependent on the family. In 1965, the business had to cope with rising structural losses and the bank s reserves were now in jeopardy. In 1973, following an abortive attempt at a merger with a small private bank named De Weduwe Tjeenk, the partners sold a two thirds stake in their company to London-based Cannon Street Investments, which was looking for a bridgehead on the continent for its expansion into Europe. The company was reconstituted as a limited liability company under the name Insinger Bankiers N.V. Louis Insinger and Henk van Asch van Wijck retained a one-third share and were allocated seats on the supervisory board. The new and highly energetic General Manager, Dr. K.F.A. Westerling, reorganised and expanded the stock exchange and arbitrage activities and the commercial banking business. In parallel, the administrative side was brought up-to-date and computerised. All the ingredients for a promising future were now in place.

However, the link-up with Cannon Street Investments soon turned sour when a financial crisis struck the London market. Insinger was subsequently merged with Willems & Cie, a dynamic stock broker, founded in 1929, who was one of the first to publish a bulletin with economic analysis and securities research. The merger was announced in March 1976 and on 1 July Bank Insinger Willems N.V. opened its doors, under the management of Kees Willems and K.F.A. Westerling. Among the members of the supervisory board were Louis Insinger, Henk van Asch van Wijck and K.C. Schonebaum, the brother-in-law of Kees Willems.

Towards Insinger de Beaufort N.V.

The economic climate was however not at all propitious for the new bank. The 1973 oil crisis had put the brakes on post-war economic growth. The bank made losses during the first five years, but then the balance sheet total and profits began to grow until the early 1980s.

Although Bank Insinger Willems was still in the black, its relative performance deteriorated at a time when the stock market was experiencing rapid growth. An attempt by the US-based Hallwood Group to acquire Insinger failed. At the same time Kees Willems was also in discussion with the small stockbroker De Beaufort & Kraaijenhage, which specialised in bond arbitrage and futures markets, in close collaboration with Oyens & Van Eeghen. Founded under the name de Kraaijenhage & Co., the company had taken the name De Beaufort & Kraaijenhage in 1974. Its legal form was that of a limited partnership, and the Rotterdam bank Van Hoboken was one of its major shareholders. In the mid-1960s

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