27 July 2022
Strategically positioned in the centre of Europe, Benelux has shown its strength over recent years as one of the most stable regions for private investment in a time of global instability and uncertainty. Despite their modest size, Belgium, The Netherlands and Luxembourg have proven highly attractive to firm’s looking to expand their capabilities within the Private Markets. The region’s focus on SMEs (small and medium enterprises) is one of the factors which contributes towards the favouring investments within the region, as well as historically low interest rates, tax incentive schemes and regulatory transparency.
The Managing Director for Macquarie Asset Management’s Private Credit Business said, “there are significant institutional savings pools in the region, with large domestic insurance companies and pension funds seeking opportunities to deploy capital both in-market and further afield”.
Political and economic stability underpins their strength as a leading player within Europe’s once again growing economic markets, leaving cause for increasing demand and competition from investors, especially within the Private Markets which have been the fastest recovering sectors. The Private Markets have shown to be less vulnerable to macro-economic downturn such as Brexit and the pandemic which has attracted increasing interest into the sector, leading to exponential growth in both fundraising and hiring to match this capability.
During this time of recovery, institutional investors seek certainty and expansion. Having seen the potential for this within the region, investments into infrastructure and real estate has risen considerably. This has drawn in investment managers to expand their jurisdiction and build out a team on the ground across the region, leading to a dramatic increase in the hiring of talent to match fundraising strategies. These are markets where local knowledge and presence are surprisingly important for sourcing and securing deals, then managing a portfolio. The pandemic has shown people more than ever the importance of face to face interaction both personally and professionally. It is apparent that frequent touchpoints with clients is essential for forming flourishing partnerships – strengthening commitment and returns.
Recent successes include Macquarie’s raise of £1.25 billion in partnership with Dutch Asset Manager MN. This was followed by AMC Executive search being appointed to hire Niels Oostenbrug as the Head of Business Development for Benelux at Macquarie Asset Management. Niels was previously positioned as the Deputy Head of Business Development at Amundi where he was responsible for the firm’s sales capability for institutional clients within the region. Other players within the infrastructure and Private Markets field have been following in their competitors footsteps. Alongside this hire for Macquarie, AMC has recently made other senior placements within the region, including Hanneke Veringa as Executive Director for Business Development at PGIM Real Estate, who are extensively growing out their capability as one of the leading Real Estate investment managers in Europe. With a vision of becoming a powerhouse within Private Markets more broadly, they are making significant steps in this direction whilst expanding into Benelux.
Although it can be said that hiring capabilities into the region directly has great benefits, Barings are bucking the trend having recently partnered with AMC to hire Charlotte Fogel as the Director of European Business Development Group, based in London. Barings pride themselves on their incredibly strong culture, as such, hiring a sales director to be part of the team close to the investment professionals was their chosen option. This, combined with recent regulatory change enabled them to house this individual in their London office whilst operating on a fly-in-fly-out basis. This ensured consistency within the firm’s internal teams whilst aligning to client needs and market demands for liquid and illiquid products in the region.
It is evident that the next step for leading investment managers within the Private Markets is to extend their capabilities into the Benelux. Building a fundraising platform to match the institutional investment base in this region is essential to this success. Therefore, at AMC Executive Search, we are harnessing our knowledge and relationships within the region to partner with leading investment managers in their search for exceptional talent to produce sustained development and growth throughout their Private Markets capabilities.