Belgian bosses

Today’s Volkskrant has answers for anyone who wondered why the AEX blue chip stock market index has done so well and tipped 500 points.


The secret, the paper says, is Belgian bosses. The AEX had fallen to 218 points by March 2003, but the long climb back has been largely due to the success of Fortis and ING, the paper says.
The Dutch-Belgian financial services group Fortis is led by Jean-Paul Votron and ING has fellow Belgian Michel Tilmant at the helm. Together, the two firms account for 94 points of the AEX’s 283 point recovery.
Other tips the paper gives include the advice not to make any US takeovers. Aegon, Ahold and Unilever, bourse darlings in the 1990s, have all had to cope with the after-effects of expensive American acquisitions. Avoid over-reliance on the dollar, the paper says.
And don’t mess with the accounts like Ahold and Shell did. ING and Fortis, the paper says, have obeyed all these rules to the letter.