Annual Report 2020

In this report, we provide our shareholders and other stakeholders with an integrated overview of our performance in 2020 and our added value as an independent, specialised wealth manager.

This year, for the first time, the report was prepared in accordance with the European Single Electronic Format (go to the XBRL version of the Annual Report).

Download our Annual Report 2020 (pdf)

Find out more:

Click: A year in review - Chairman's message - Our strategy - Value creation - Colleagues about 2020 - All reports on FY2020

2020: a year in review

2020 A year in review

Would you like to know more about these topics and other important moments for our clients, shareholders and organization? Then also read 2020: A year in review in our annual report.

Chairman's message

'I hope that you will agree with me that Covid-19 was a defining feature of 2020. In more ways than one, it forced us all to confront the fragility and realities of life. (...) We do not know what 2021 will bring, but I want to assure our clients that we will be there for them – regardless of the circumstances. On behalf of the firm, I would like to express my gratitude to our clients across the various segments we serve.'

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Our strategy

Our business is impacted by the world around us, and our strategy needs to reflect and respond to that.

In light of our purpose – to preserve and create wealth in a sustainable way – we have defined our wealth management strategy.

In order to monitor whether we're on track to deliver on our ambitions and create long-term value, we define financial and non-financial KPIs and targets.

Our value creation

Wealth generation is essential to create and maintain stability in our society. This requires a long-term focus in which economic, social, environmental and governance factors all need to be taken into account. We believe that, via the generation of wealth and its redistribution through taxation, we can contribute to creating and maintaining a stable and successful society. Our value creation model below provides an overview of our impact and the value we create in the long term. For more details on each type of capital and concrete examples, please see Our value creation in the annual report.

Click on image to enlarge

Value creation model 2020

Our colleagues about 2020

Online communication the new normal

My role at Investor Relations has coincided almost exactly with the Covid-19 pandemic. Having been working for Van Lanschot Kempen since 2013 when I started as a trainee, I took a sabbatical in 2019 to study for my MBA in Barcelona. I came back to the Netherlands in March 2020, just as the virus began spreading rapidly across Europe.

It was a pretty strange start to the job! Normally in Investor Relations, you’d be travelling to roadshows and meetings, touring the globe to get to know analysts and shareholders. But in my case it’s been completely different. At first, all meetings were just postponed. But as time went on and everyone realised that the virus was here to stay for longer, everything moved online. Our shareholder meetings, analyst calls – even the annual visits from the credit rating agencies – all went online. There are a few people who prefer old-fashioned conference calls, but most are comfortable with tools like Microsoft Teams or Webex – even if it means their kids or pets occasionally wander onscreen.

And we’ve had a lot to communicate: Covid-19’s impact in Q1, the postponement of 2019 dividend payments, our acquisition of Hof Hoorneman Bankiers, and now our new organisational structure... I think the latter is something our shareholders and investors will be happy about, as it’s part of a wider initiative that’ll lead to more shareholder value. Plus, it should deliver better service for our clients and better job satisfaction for our employees.

Tosca Holtland – Investor Relations Manager 

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Bridging the gap between operations and IT

I joined Van Lanschot Kempen in the summer of 2020 – right in the middle of the Covid-19 pandemic. Based in Switzerland, I collaborate daily with colleagues in the Netherlands, many of whom I’ve not yet met in person because of travel restrictions. It’s certainly made personal interaction and knowledge sharing a lot more difficult!

But I’m fortunate that my role is designed in such a way that remote working is feasible. I’m part of a crossfunctional workforce that’s building a research platform to help colleagues who have an advisory role towards our clients. The platform will consolidate data on selected investment funds – across all fund providers – and present it in a way that meets investment manager research or fiduciary management needs.

It’s my job to translate these needs into data and process requirements. Together with the developers, we then turn those requirements into features of the new application. Once it’s built, I’ll contribute to testing and day-to-day management. Essentially, I form a bridge between the business, operations and IT.

The end goal is to leverage the group-wide, cloud-based infrastructure to serve all the different parts of the business with basic and advanced analytics. One client group may be looking for an engine that analyses its portfolio, another may request extensive manager search, while a third may favour high-level research notes. With an integrated solution, we’re tackling the challenge from all angles.

Gaël Prudenté – Application Manager, Switzerland

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Differentiating ourselves through digital

Relationship managers are the first point of contact for our Private Banking clients. My team and I work with the private bankers to manage client portfolios, inform clients about investment solutions and mortgages, and generally help manage daily banking affairs.

As you can imagine, it’s a role that involves plenty of client contact. We used to have a lot of face-to-face meetings, which have now all switched to video calls, and we’re attending lots of webinars rather than onsite events. It’s arguably more efficient, but you miss the personal touch and the opportunity to network.

When it comes to managing relationships with clients, digital innovation is very important. Technological developments and digital trends enable us to serve our clients more quickly, as well as helping us stay relevant and current. One example is the ID check app, which allows clients to identify themselves remotely, and another is the investment app, which has seen some great developments during the year. We’ve received good feedback from clients about being able to do everything remotely – certainly a plus point in 2020!

Our clients also appreciate Private Banking’s connection with Kempen Asset Management. It means we’re able to set up meetings with fund managers for our clients – not something that many wealth managers can offer.

Duygu Ozbek – Team Leader Relationship Managers, Van Lanschot Private Banking

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It's all about personal relationships

I joined Evi four years ago, but only started my current role as an investment coach in 2019. I’m there for the mass-affluent segment, helping them build up their wallet with investments, possibly for the first time. For me, it’s the most interesting client group – especially as I’m responsible for onboarding new private investors.

When it comes to the integrated way of working, my biggest motivation comes from acting as one. Although my main focus is on Evi, I’ve been able to use my professional network to introduce my colleagues at Kempen to potential investors. And I’ve joined forces with colleagues in Private Banking to help their clients set up investment strategies for their children – the next generation of investors. Since I started four years ago, people are more active in working together and in offering help and knowledge between different departments and business lines.

Because my job is all about building personal relationships, the pandemic has had upsides and downsides. I have lots of video calls with both clients and colleagues, which means I have more interaction time than ever before. I also save a two-hour commute every day, and find I can work more efficiently and productively from home. But I definitely miss the dynamics of working in an office, and I find it harder to switch off. At the end of the day, we’re all in this together so we’re making it work.

Wim Ravestein – Senior Investment Coach, Evi

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Moving with the times

My career path has been the opposite of most people’s: I started out on the investment management side and quickly realised my skills lay in relationship building rather than investment itself. So I moved into pensions and sales five years ago and have never looked back.

I joined Van Lanschot Kempen in July 2019, which was good timing because the UK pensions market has really gained traction in the last couple of years. I stay in touch with about 100 defined benefit schemes, making sure they’re familiar with our proposition, but I also do a lot of work on pitches and requests for proposals (RFPs).

It’s been a particularly important year for Kempen UK: we developed our messaging to reflect the client-centric nature of Van Lanschot Kempen. We won four mandates in 2020 – a huge achievement for the UK team – demonstrating the results of everyone’s hard work. We’ve been working more and more with our colleagues in the Netherlands, too – especially the research analysts, the ESG team and the data analysts, not to mention corporate communications and marketing to run events.

Part of my role is about creating brand awareness and delivering our message to the UK market, which has been hard to do without face-to-face contact. But in November, we ran a Van Gogh and wine tasting event, in which we successfully recreated the social dynamic online: through art and wine tasting, but also through chats about industry developments and virtual break-out rooms. It just goes to show how much people are moving with the times, but equally how the importance of building relationships hasn’t been lost.

Vicky Casebourne – Director of Institutional Business Development, Kempen Asset Management, UK


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Same goal, different needs

I joined Van Lanschot Kempen in mid-2019 specifically to work on the project to merge the employment conditions of Van Lanschot and Kempen, focusing first on the Dutch entities. The goal was to integrate, modernise and simplify them, supporting us to act as one.

The new employment conditions enable us to collaborate, while still acknowledging and meeting our differing needs as individuals. This flexibility is given by the various diversity-conscious policies we’ve introduced, including a flexible budget to spend on benefits of our choosing, financial help with childcare for full-time working mothers, being able to work part-time prior to retirement, and supporting short-term care leave to look after loved ones.

Now that Van Lanschot Kempen’s employment conditions have been revamped in the Netherlands, my role as a compensation and benefits specialist has shifted towards doing the same for our offices in the UK, Belgium and Switzerland. I’m very excited to continue improving Van Lanschot Kempen’s employment offering and aligning this to the needs of our colleagues.

One thing I learnt during the pandemic was that a lot of colleagues actually appreciate being able to work from home, myself included. For me personally, it’s meant that I’m better able to focus, and my work-life balance has improved significantly without having to spend three hours commuting every day. Although there are clear benefits, I still miss being able to have spontaneous chats over coffee with my colleagues.

Alexandru Tebeica – Reward & Performance Adviser


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Achieving more by working together

The Executives team works with C-level managers at listed companies – we help them with all kinds of needs, depending on their personal situation. They generally have lots of questions about finance and investment; they’re also closely monitored by the financial markets authorities, and we need to make sure they’re not at risk of insider trading or conflicts of interest. But they’re very busy people who don’t have much time, so sometimes things need to be done quickly.

I’ve seen first-hand that we can achieve more for our Executive clients when we work with our colleagues in other departments like Kempen Merchant Banking. For example, one of my private clients might work for a listed firm that’s a client of Kempen: we serve both the individual and the company better when we work together. Plus, all our new digital apps make us a more integrated wealth manager, able to offer more solutions to our clients.

As you can see, one of the big additions to my life during the coronavirus pandemic was our Labrador puppy – we got her in April during the first lockdown. I’m not sure why I thought that working a full-time job, home schooling my three kids and looking after a puppy was possible – but since it was hectic anyway, why not? Because of Covid-19, it sometimes feels like I’m always working and always being a parent – and of course I want to be good at both. But I’d rather be busy than bored, and the puppy has brought us a lot of positive energy.

Jacqueline van der Voort – Commercial Director for Executives, Van Lanschot Private Banking

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Long history of collaboration

I joined Van Lanschot Kempen around the time of the 2008 financial crisis, and have been head of the Specialties desk in Belgium since 2012. We cater to all kinds of special clients, including non-profits, schools, local governments and pension funds, but also business professionals and wealthy families. For all of these, we come up with made to-measure solutions.

Because of that, my team has a long history of collaboration with other parts of the company: we work with Kempen’s Structured Products desk; we help bankers with propositions and ideas; and we work closely with the Family Solutions team, to name just a few. An integrated way of working has always been part of our daily operations.

At the same time, I’m an ESG Officer – which means I’m continually raising awareness of environmental, social and governance issues within the Belgian organisation. In Belgium, ESG is an important demand from our special clients, so our entire discretionary product offering is fully sustainable. I’m in regular contact with my sustainability colleagues in the Netherlands, discussing ESG priorities and how to translate these into the Belgian context.

It's fortunate that we’re able to do so much from home via video conferencing and phone, since our industry is based on trust. We’ve been able to build up good networks face-to-face over previous years, which means that the Specialties desk has had a very successful 2020, despite not being able to see our clients in person. Although a change of scenery would be nice!

Staf Lavergne – Director Specialties desk and ESG Officer, Belgium

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Variety is key

I started at Van Lanschot Kempen as a banker in The Hague way back in 1988. Since then, my career has taken me through various roles in different departments and several locations – it’s been very varied, which is probably what’s kept me in the company for so long!

I’ve been working in Internal Control since 2010, and in 2018 Client Monitoring was added to the department as well. Internal Control makes sure we stay in control of our processes, carry out risk assessments and unburden the business. While Client Monitoring is all about “know your client” research, anti-money laundering regulations and so on.

As you’d imagine, plenty has changed in the last 30+ years – and the pace of change is getting faster and faster.
In the past couple of years, we’ve really broken down the silos and improved our teamwork, both between the different business lines and with the staff functions. We’re also constantly working on data analytics, artificial intelligence, robotics and automation. For example, in the control function we’re quickly shifting from manual processes to automated processes.

Now that we’re all working from home, I miss being able to have a chat with a colleague at the coffee machine. But at the same time, things are very well set up for home working. I think the optimum situation is going to be a combination of the two: a couple of days in the office and a couple of days working from home.

Stephan Stuijvenberg – Executive Director Internal Control & Client Monitoring

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Making connections

I started my career in 2006 as a Sales Specialist in Kempen’s real estate team, advising global institutional investors on their allocation to European listed real estate. In 2014, I made the switch to Corporate Finance, focusing on European real estate transactions. And in January 2021, I started my new role – responsible for strategic development, operations and change at Kempen Merchant Banking.

Our ambition is to be a leading player in our core sectors. Our strength lies in our proposition as a whole: the close connection between the teams in Merchant Banking and Asset Management, our dominant position in those sectors – these resonate well with our clients and give us a platform to succeed. Plus, we listen to client demand and reflect this in the solutions we offer. And, more recently,we’ve been using data analytics to gain interesting insights into our sectors – some of which have ended up being at the heart of transactions.

That’s the business side of things, but I’m also a manager, responsible for looking after my team. I’ll admit it’s a challenge getting to know my new team while everyone is working from home. You have to make that extra effort to actively reach out and stay connected: take a walk with a colleague, drink a coffee outside, be creative. We’ve learned a couple of important lessons: while many people like the flexibility of working from home, when it comes to creative or interactive processes people still really like to meet face-to-face.

Dirk Saltzherr – Managing Director of Strategic Development, Operations and Change, Kempen Merchant Banking

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A prime example of integration

When Van Lanschot Kempen acquired the Dutch wealth management activities of UBS in 2017, I was part of the team that moved over. Although I’m a senior portfolio manager for Kempen Asset Management, my team translates all the investment decisions into the portfolios of our Private Banking and Evi clients, as well as constructing target portfolios for Belgium and Switzerland. So the Private Clients Portfolio Management desk is a prime example of integration.

When I started my role, Van Lanschot and Kempen each had their own separate investment infrastructures. One of our biggest projects has been to build a single platform from which we can serve all client groups – with the same investment process, risk-based approach, asset allocation procedure and so on. It’s been quite a challenge to streamline things and create one process that meets the needs of all client groups – but we’re great advocates of the “act as one” philosophy.

I’m proud of my team during the pandemic: we had to field a lot of client requests, but everyone worked extremely hard while also being understanding of people’s childcare situation or other work-life balance issues. I’m very fortunate to have this chalet at the end of the garden where I can work, away from the rest of the family, and I know many colleagues have had it a lot tougher. My management style is to walk around to people’s desks, having quick chats with colleagues rather than formal meetings. So I really miss the personal interaction, seeing my team and feeling people’s moods.

Cas de Bruijne – Head of Client Portfolio Management, Kempen Asset Management

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Download our Annual Reports

Would you like to know more about specific subjects that featured in 2020? Download our reports regarding our financial year 2020. If you are looking for more information on our performance in previous years, you can find historic reports in our archive.

More about our financial results