Annual Forecast generates useful discussion International grain conference will be held in Madrid Rabobank joins the super highway International 7 Madrid For the second year in succession, top management met with Rabobank Antwerp's clients to talk interest rates,foreign exchange developments and taxation. Rabobank is one of those rare organiz- ations - a bank that is prepared to stick its neck out and make forecasts and predictions on how it sees worldwide economie develop- ment over the coming year - and actually publishes them in book form. Traditionally, this so-called Forecast is presented in Jan- uary to clients and the press in Holland. But in 1994, a similar presentation was also made to Rabobank Antwerp's customers. The success of this relatively informal meet ing of minds - in classic Belgian style, clients are also given dinner - prompted the bank to turn it into an annual occasion, getting the new year off to a lively start. Executive board member Wim van den Goorbergh talked clients through interest- rate and forex development. Unpredicted rapid economie growth in 1994 led some cen tral banks to increase interest rates to prevent inflation rearing its ugly head, while others pursued a wait and see policy. Van den Goor bergh questioned whether the fear of infla tion is justified and concluded it was not, although he did think Germany would face rising inflation in the not too distant future. Following a year in which the dollar feil dramatically against the mark, van den Goorbergh predicted it would rise modestly during the coming year. 'There are a number of reasons for this,' he said. 'One, monetary policy will gain credibility over the next few months. Two, the balance of payments sur plus between Japan and the US will decline. Three, higher US interest rates and a favour- able bond market later in the year will attract foreign capital.' On European monetary union, Van den Goorbergh suggested economie revival and the entry of three new members had breathed life into the notion only a year after the collapse of EMU had seemed imminent. 'But,' he added, 'we shouldn't be too optimistic because the high level of - often structural - unemployment and the weak public finances of many member states are hardly satisfactory. Besides this general economie overview, the bank also made full use of the event to talk about corporate finance. Exporting ent repreneurs working within Europe are often confronted with major differences in fiscal regimes. Rabobank Nederland can prove a very useful instrument in managing these dif ferences. Talking fiscal management could hardly fail to lead to questions on the tech- noleasing structures the bank has designed over the past couple of years. Almost every- one wanted to know the finer details of the Philips and Fokker deals, but as the press was well-represented, Rabobankers sufficed by saying they would be only too happy to discuss these structures with individual com- panies - in private. Like last year, a useful discussion and an excellent dinner for the 120 participants at Forecast 1995 did much to cement relations with what the Dutch call their 'southern neighbours'. Clients certainly appreciate this kind of down-to-earth discussion with their bankers and there are still plans to hold simi lar events in other countries. 'We actually have three major annual publications which could be ideal opportunities to enter into dialogues with clients,' says Freek Hoek of the financial markets division. 'The first is, of course, the Forecast, then we have the An nual Report and the interim report. The way things look at present, we hope to start orga- nizing events of this kind next year - 1996 - with other foreign offices, because it is one more way to get our client-orientation mes sage across and to improve name recog- nition.' Wim van den Goorbergh's presenation is based on information contained in Forecast '95. This publication is available in both English and Dutch from Marketing Services in Utrecht. 29- 30th of March 1995 Following the tremendous impact of the World Fruit Conference organized by the bank in Rotterdam early last year and attend- ed by top international representatives from the sector, this year's conference will focus on grain. Spain is one of the leading Euro pean grain countries and was therefore se- lected as ideal location for the conference. Lists of potential participants have been drawn up by the various foreign offices worldwide and invitations were sent out early in the new year. Says Maarten van den Bergh of Marketing Services who is organiz- ing the conference: The response has been overwhelming. This is hardly surprising because we have really put together a fascinating program of top speakers, including Spain's minister of agriculture and a former EU commissioner for agriculture.'The conference is slated for March 29/30, with Popular Rabobank playing host to the expected 400 participants. Rabobank is the first major Dutch bank tojoin Internet, the global information network used by around 20 million sub- scribers.The bank's information pages can be accessed through Dutch Flome Page or directly through present, only general information on the bank, the new house-style and telebanking is accessible on the World-Wide-Web pages, but this will be extended in the future.The information is available in both Dutch and English.

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blad 'Raboband International' (EN) | 1995 | | pagina 7