George Cornelissen; Michael Phair; Anders Bergendahl
Executive vice-president, global fixed-income and derivative markets, ABN Amro Hoare Govett
The Dutch are coming. More than 300 years ago that cry incited panic along the south coast of England as Dutch admirals, including Van Tromp (he with the broom tied to his mast to sweep the English from the sea) and De Ruyter, regularly ran rings round a tired and ill-equipped home fleet. Now the Dutch are here and like Van Tromp and De Ruyter are making waves. ING bought Barings. Dutch pension funds have been major buyers of prime commercial property in London. ABN Amro, rich and ambitious, certainly looked at SG Warburg and even more closely at Barings but came away empty-handed.
But ABN Amro isn't shedding any tears. Also, the bank had its hands full in London without having to go through the laborious "nursemaid" experience of managing the sensitivities of a newly-acquired foreign bank. ABN Amro was already in London. In fact, it was all over London, which was just one of the problems: it had three offices in the City.
Then there was Hoare Govett (acquired by Security Pacific in the mid-1980s and sold to ABN Amro in 1991) which was a consistent money-maker but was located in yet another office and operated with almost total independence.