Jacques Prost: “It’s a very ambitious project!”

What is the added value of the proposed acquisition of Degroof Peters?

Jacques Prost. – “In order to be able to answer your question, we must first tell you that Indosuez Wealth Management is the asset management subsidiary of the Crédit Agricole group, the tenth largest bank in the world by balance sheet, which manages assets worth over 130 billion. With almost 3,000 employees, we are present in ten countries around the world, mainly in Europe (Belgium, Spain, France, Italy, Luxembourg, Monaco and Switzerland), in Asia and the Pacific (Hong Kong, New Caledonia and Singapore) and also in the Middle East ( United Arab Emirates).

Therefore, we have an international network and our clientele, which consists of entrepreneurs and historical families in particular, is quite close to that of the Degroof Peters. We are fortunate to be part of the Crédit Agricole group, a world-class bank that benefits from very strong shareholder stability as a joint bank and recognized financial strength. These are two very important elements for all our customers.

Indosuez Wealth Management is also the entry portal for our clients within the Crédit Agricole group. We will be able to offer Degroof Petercam’s clients access to our international network and all the expertise of the group, such as asset management, insurance and consumer credit, for example, businesses in which Crédit Agricole is a leader. .

The financial capacity of the group is also a very important competitive advantage. We have the ability to provide loans to our clients, especially in the field of real estate or to support our corporate clients in their development.

Our activities are also very complementary. For example, Degroof Petercam has an investment banking activity, very focused on entrepreneurs, which would allow us to expand our offer.

This acquisition project would allow customers to offer high added value services thanks to the combination of know-how, as well as access to the international network and financing possibilities of the Crédit Agricole group. This is a relevant project that creates value for all stakeholders.

The younger generations of these families are increasingly interested in new investment products or sectors, such as blockchain for example or cryptocurrencies. Are these topics that you are also thinking about?

“Indeed, we are very attentive to these trends around new technologies. We also offer private equity investments with companies that, through technology, contribute to the transformation of business in order to respond to climate challenges. Because to be better in terms of ESG, we need more technological innovation.

Among the initiatives we have launched, such as Degroof Petercam, we have an offer aimed at the NextGen, that is, the children of our clients or young entrepreneurs who have already built their assets in innovation or technology, for example. And then, we also need to be able to meet their more “classic” needs. They often need to invest in real estate or diversify their assets, and we as a financial partner must be able to respond to that.

In this Friday morning communication, we understand that the meeting of the various entities will be based on your own technologies. Enough to worry about. In Luxembourg, Indosuez has 400 people and Degroof Petercam has 430. What impact will this acquisition have on the workforce?

“I will give two answers. First of all, it is an ambitious project, a very nice project that is still subject to the approvals of the competent authorities. We believe that the development potential is very significant because we will be able to market a number of products and services with two references. We will have the opportunity to apply this complementary expertise to our existing clients as well as to new clients. We have very significant ambitions in terms of conquering new markets and cooperation with different entities and businesses of the Crédit Agricole Group. We plan to establish a team to orchestrate the implementation of this collaboration, which will take some time, as the execution of this coordination plan will be the key to the success of the project.

Another answer, a little more technical, is that our workforce in Luxembourg will have a leading role in managing our various activities in Europe. We will have a lot of projects and we will need all the teams to make it all happen.

Finalization of the work is planned for the end or beginning of next year. When do you estimate that you will be operationally ready?

“There are two phases. The first consists of acquiring a 59%-60% stake. We expect the acquisition process to be completed after receiving all regulatory approvals around the second quarter of next year. The offer that we will make to the other shareholders will last at best until the end of 2024, the beginning of 2025. We could be operational from that point on.

A few words about the fact that the Cigrand family (CLdN) remains in it with its 20%. This is pretty good news?

“Thank you for your question. First of all, the Crédit Agricole group has a long tradition of cooperation with local partners, and as part of this acquisition project, we wanted to rely on a reference shareholder. Present in the capital since 2011, CLdN knows the bank and its activities very well and it is important that they want to stay involved. This shows our desire to maintain deep and lasting roots in Belgium. We shared our development ambitions with them and we are very happy about future cooperation.”

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