Manager of the Banque de Paris et des Pays-Bas since 1892, travelled to Amsterdam to see the situation at the branch for himself and in particular to form an opinion on the branch manager, authorised signatories and the members of the Advisory Council. Several months later, the bank decided to appoint Henry van Wyck as branch manager to work alongside Van Hall who was still ill. Van Wyck was transferred from the Brussels branch, where he had held the post of assistant manager since late 1887.
Transformation of the branch into an independent institution
Following Joseph Henri Thors trip in May 1896, management in Paris planned to reorganise the branch, transforming it into an independent financial institution in which Banque de Paris et des Pays-Bas would be the major shareholder. A letter from Gideon Maria Boissevain addressed to Joseph Henri Thors, undated but probably written on 11 June 1896, lists a number of arguments against the headquarters-driven plan. Boissevain states that the plan had been discussed during a meeting of the Advisory Council, which had expressed a number of objections: In a nutshell, I would say that various objections were raised and received unanimous support. In fact nobody here appears to be at all keen on the reorganisation plans, or at least that is how it seems at this moment in time.
The objections raised on behalf of the Advisory Council by Boissevain centred on what the consequences of the plan would be: The first question is: if the status of the Amsterdam Branch were changed to that of an independent financial institution whose management would be unknown or little-known in France, would it enjoy the same level of trust and confidence as it does at the moment in its position as a branch of the Banque de Paris? Of course not! Consequently it is perfectly possible that the outcome of the transformation would be the exact opposite of what you would wish to see, in your desire to make the branch better suited to serving as a securities depository for French capitalists. To come to my second point, regarding factors that affect the branch itself, first and foremost it must be said that the new Dutch banking institution, even with a somewhat higher level of capital, will certainly not enjoy the prestige and the credentials that we now have in this marketplace as a branch of the Banque de Paris. The same goes for foreign exchange transactions, where today we can genuinely say that we enjoy unlimited credit. And at any given moment that could be just as useful to headquarters as to the branch itself. Would this continue to be the case? That is highly doubtful, to say the least. Once again, when it comes to underwriting Dutch government debt, the signature of the branch of the Banque de Paris has always been accepted for any amount whatsoever, but would this hold true for the signature of an independent institution of far lesser weight, even though it had been founded by the Banque de Paris? Once again I would say this is at the very least extremely unlikely.
We do not know how much weight these arguments carried, but the fact remains that the Amsterdam branch was not converted into an independent financial institution.
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