IG&H Consulting & Interim, one of the leading consulting firms in the Netherlands, has expanded its footprint into the Belgian consultancy market. ParFinis, a Belgian firm with which it has collaborated for some time, has been integrated into the firm and renamed IG&H Consulting & Interim Belgium.
With around 120 professionals, IG&H Consulting is one of the bigger players on the Dutch consulting market, valued to be worth $1.2 billion. The firm specialises in three core segments: Financial Services, Healthcare, and Retail/Logistics. Over the past years IG&H Consulting saw the demand for its services steadily increase within the Belgian market, in particular in the Flemish region. The demand came partly from Dutch clients that required international support, but also from new clients that chose for the firm based on its track record.
To meet the growing demand from Belgium, IG&H Consulting in 2013 began a search for potential market partners based in Belgium with ParFinis selected as the preferred partner. In February last year both parties closed an official partnership deal, which allowed them to bundle their capabilities in the field of business development and project delivery, focused on the insurance sector. The parties developed a joint proposition, which aims to support insurance clients with strategy setting and the realisation of strategic objectives.
The collaboration is beneficial to both parties, says Jan van Hasenbroek, founder & Managing Partner of IG&H Consulting & Interim: “The chemistry between the firms was obvious from our first meeting. We share a passion and drive for the sector, through which we deliver results for our Dutch and Belgian clients.” In light of the successful collaboration, the two firms have recently decided to intensify their collaboration, with an integration the result. As part of the agreement, ParFinis will disappear from the stage to go further as IG&H Consulting & Interim Belgium.
The former ParFinis was founded in 2011 by Koen Knaepen, who currently serves as Managing Partner. Before this role, Knaepen was active for a number of years in the consulting industry (for among others Belgium advisory Qernel and PwC) and the financial services sector (for among others Vaderlandsche, Axa and KBC). The firm has around 15 consultants in service and an extensive network of associates commissioned by ParFinis to fulfil various roles within its projects and programmes. As part of the transaction, Knaepen joins IG&H Consulting as an Associate Partner.
Knaepen welcomes the deal with IG&H: “For years IG&H has advised companies on complex strategic transitions to new business models in insurance, pensions, mortgages and wealth building. IG&H has the required knowledge and tools to provide high quality services and support to clients in this country.”
With the combination of competencies, the two firms expect be able to better serve the Belgian market. Just as in IG&H’s home base in the Netherlands, and similarly to the UK, the financial sector in Belgium continues to see disruptive developments, particularly in terms of regulation, digitalisation and client behaviour. Together the combined firm expects to play into the changes, promising to deliver “a wide network, deep knowledge of the Belgian sector, and end-to-end service from strategy to execution, with many years of experience,” according to the partners. “The combination of IG&H’s experience, with the knowledge and network opened up and sustained by ParFinis on the Belgian market, means that we can service the market with an strong and innovative offering. One plus one is in this case definitely not two, but three,” resounds Knaepen.
The Dutch in Belgium
In recent years several Dutch consulting firms have moved into the Belgian consultancy market to capitalise on the potential, and find other revenue outlets amidst the highly competitive Dutch market. Last year Dicitas Consulting, a specialist in the area of digitalisation founded by former Accenture partners, also entered the Benelux market. With a market value of €625 million, the Belgian market is worth slightly more than half that of the Dutch market, and a fraction of the UK consulting market, the globe’s second largest market.