Accounting and advisory organisation EY has acquired Montesquieu, a Netherlands based financial advisory firm. Roughly thirty advisors will join the advisory practice of the Big Four firm. For EY, the step is in line with the firm’s ambition to become the market leader in debt advisory, risk management and treasury in the Netherlands and Belgium.
Montesquieu was founded in 2003 by Angelique Paulissen, Joep Munten and Ralph Poulssen. Prior to Montesquieu, all three founders were active in the treasury world: Paulissen among others at ABN Amro and Rabobank, Munten at ABN Amro and Société Générale, while Poulssen was active as a treasurer at packaging company Smurfit Kappa. Under their leadership, Montesquieu built a strong track record in the area of financial consulting and risk management. The consultancy firm provides advice to corporations, public organisations and institutional investors, and is in possession of a practicing license from the Authority for the Financial Markets (AFM) since 2008.
Over the past years, Montesquieu has booked strong growth – the company of late managed to scoop five growth awards from the FD (the counterpart of the FT in the Netherlands) – and as it stands currently employs a team of approximately thirty staff.
In line with the broader developments in the market, Montesquieu noticed the growing need to both deepen as well as broaden its portfolio. "Our clients increasingly ask for a more integral approach facing their challenges in the area of treasury", Paulissen states, who in 2011 was named ‘Business Women of the Year’ in the country. With that in mind, Montesquieu decided to join forces with EY. “By joining EY, we are able to service our clients even better", says Paulissen. As part of the transaction, Paulissen has been appointed a partner at the Big Four firm and will serve as Executive Director of Montesquieu. Co-founder Munten has decided to depart after 12.5 years to focus entirely on his new venture, Hartelt Fund Management, while too Poulssen remains on board.
For EY, the deal is in line with its ambition to "become a market leader in debt advisory, risk management and treasury in The Netherlands and in Belgium", comments Marcel van Loo, Country Managing Partner at EY, adding: "We are proud that Montesquieu has joined our ranks. The combination of Montesquieu with EY adds a crucial component to our services. We have combined a strong brand with specific expertise, which will lead to further growth.”
Besides an economic fit, the integration also brings benefits to the employees of Montesquieu such as "wonderful group activities and an increase in career advancement possibilities”, reflects Paulissen, both in The Netherlands as well as internationally. “The working cultures of EY and Montesquieu fit in seamlessly with one another,” she concludes.
The transaction fits in a larger trend: big accounting firms are actively working on broadening their position in the consultancy industry – a market which is enjoying strong growth and lucrative margins. EY for example previously acquired data-analyst i3 (in January this year), and in the summer of 2015 the advisory giant purchased Intergrc, a specialist in the area of governance, risk and compliance.