IB in BeNeLux: viable career path?

Hi everyone,

I'm currently a grad student in a highly regarded BeNeLux university, studying for an MSc in Finance & Banking. I've had my eyes on IB for quite some time, but given the fact that this region isn't really active on this site I still have some questions. 

I've seen this post (link) about local IB offices, and it only got 1 (albeit extensive) comment. I'm curious to see if anyone has some more information about the local banks. Primarily focused on Luxembourg & Belgium, but NL is also an option. Mostly looking into things like culture, deal flow, comp, working hours, etc.: the usual stuff. 

Thanks in advance!

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Comments (21)

  • Analyst 1 in AM - Other
May 30, 2021 - 2:35pm

Almost all BBs have BeNeLux coverage teams. Pre Brexit they operated out of London. I guess most groups would now be based out of Amsterdam. I suggest networking with benelux analysts on linkedin or senior folks to get an idea. Cheers! 

  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A
May 30, 2021 - 3:28pm

I can speak for Belgium: 

Rotschild, Lazard, EY, BNP are the top players. 

Then the other big4 + BDO, ING, KBC. 

Finally there are some boutiques such as Allyum, Deloitte Private, Merodis, Closing, Tandem, etc. 

If you want to work in IB in Belgium I would advise you to intern in a boutique first. 

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Jun 1, 2021 - 6:21am

I can speak for Belgium and the Netherlands, I am a Belgian IB analyst at one of the Dutch big3 banks (ABN, ING, Rabo)

For banks with an office in Brussels I agree on Rothschild, Lazard, BNP, ING, KBC, but please don't put EY or BDO in the same bucket.

For their M&A advisory or corporate finance teams, they have a totally different target/scope of deals. The only big 4 that I have seen around in deals above circa 15-20m EV is Deloitte Corporate Finance team (from their Financial Advisory arm located in Zaventem). 

I would advise looking at Belgium mergermarkets league tables based on value instead of volume to get a good picture of the usual IB players in Belgium.

May 30, 2021 - 3:40pm

I can only speak for Belgium as well.

There are several opportunities in the Benelux market.

You have international players such as Lazard, Rothschild, JP Morgan, Lincoln International etc. More regional players are Degroof Petercam, BNP, KBC Securities,...

If you want to get in, I highly recommend doing internships at some regional boutiques. You have several boutiques in the Brussels area: Merodis, Tandem Capital Advisors, Kumulus Partners, Allyum,... and many more

I have some friends working in Amsterdam and you can find most of the international players there as well. If you're fluent in French, I would also recommend to search for opportunities in Paris!

  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A
Jun 1, 2021 - 2:14am

It depends but most people are native dutch speakers and are fluent in French and English. 

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Gen
Jun 1, 2021 - 3:58am

French only may suffice, but Flemish/Dutch will open so many more doors and it's almost the only way to get in ft in NL.

Rest of what they said is true. Maybe look to participate in the annual vlerick m&a challenge to meet some of the banks up close. 

  • Analyst 2 in IB - Ind
Jun 1, 2021 - 8:02am

Can confirm. I participated in the LBT and am now working for a US BB in London

EDIT: forgot to say, the banks typically focus heavily on hiring for their Amsterdam offices

Jun 1, 2021 - 6:37am

Hi, I can talk for Belgium and the Netherlands (not a lot of IB activity in Luxembourg outside of Asset management or Valuation teams of big4 consultancies that nearly only do portfolio valuation from asset management funds).

The heart of the IB dealmaking for the Benelux used to be London but I see banks shift more and more towards Amsterdam post-Brexit and in rare occasions to Brussels (Berenberg) or Paris (HSBC).

as said above, most of the BBs have their Benelux coverage teams in London (GS, MS, etc) but an increasing amount of banks are increasing their headcount in Amsterdam (BAML, UBS, Citi, JPM, Macquarie, Jeff, etc)

outside of the BBs or the usual EB like Rothschild, Lazard or HL, the local banks have a big presence in the local deal activity (BNP, KBC and ING in Brussels or ABN, ING and Rabo in Amsterdam). Some local private banks and advisory boutiques are also pretty active in IB (Degroof Petercam or Berenberg in Brussels and Kempen&Co, NIBC, Lincoln or Nielen Schuman in Amsterdam and The Hague), although some are more focused towards ECM like Kempen, Berenberg or Belfius. 

A good piece of advice that was given above as well is that if you are looking for your first experience in IB in the Benelux, the big4 (Deloitte, PwC, EY, KPMG), firms alike (BDO, RSM, Baker Tilly, Grant Thorton), or regional boutiques like (Tandem, Kumulus, Florin Finance, Allyum, VD&P, Merodis, ONEtoONE CF, Marktlink, Clairfield, The Capital Link etc) offer interesting internship opportunities in either m&a advisory, valuation or transaction services.

If you are belgian and your goal is a BB, the LBC (London Banking Circuit) is an absolute no-brainer. Some banks use it as their first-round for their Belgian candidates. 

As mentioned above, Dutch is gonna be a requirement in most banks located in Amsterdam outside of a couple of exceptions like some of the BBs, ABN and Kempen&Co. Regarding Brussels, most of the candidates / interns I have seen get full-time offers were usually fluent in Dutch with a good level of French or vice versa. 

Jun 1, 2021 - 7:49am

Thanks for your thorough reply. I'm 100% looking more into LBC like mentioned before. Looking more into Brussels right now, which should be in the language department (Dutch, English and French). Do you reckon that doing things like courses/certifications from Coursera or WSO are worth it to boost my resume in Benelux? I have a feeling that 'just' a masters degree isn't really sufficient enough to secure an internship - even with good grades.

  • Analyst 2 in IB - Ind
Jun 1, 2021 - 8:08am

No, they won't help you. When I review CVs, I typically skip that part. Important are relevant extracurricular activities (finance clubs), prior relevant experience (think transaction services at big4) and excellent grades (minimum cum laude)

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