Totalserve Management and Hoogewerf & Cie: a win-win combination
Hoogewerf & Cie is integrating its domiciliation, compliance and accounting services into Totalserve Management (Luxembourg). The principals of the two firms say the fit is a logical one, built on many years of deepening co-operation and trust.
How are your companies working together?
Francis Hoogewerf: The staff and activities of Hoogewerf & Cie have been integrated into Totalserve Management – my colleagues now work from Totalserve’s splendid new offices, and the consulting activities of my wife Angela and myself will be based there too. I have known Totalserve founder Peter Economides for 30 years and we have worked with them on a regular basis since they opened their Luxembourg office almost 10 years ago. I have been looking for a reputable company to take over our fiduciary, accounting and domiciliation business, and Totalserve is a great fit. Looking at the brand-new offices here, right in front of the Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce, I am glad that my colleagues have even better work conditions than before. My wife and I will pursue our consulting activities, which after 50 years still focus on attracting new businesses to Luxembourg. As a member of many associations, including the Diplomatic Council, a United Nations think-tank, I will bring new clients to Totalserve, which will meet their particular needs.
James Body: Over the last two to three years, we have been increasingly working together, establishing trust and deepening our relationship. It’s important that we both put the client first and provide services through a settled team that delivers cost-efficient and proactive services.
Keimpe Reitsma: Things have gone fast since we started discussions in February. Hoogewerf is a well-established name in Luxembourg; I met Francis for the first time in 1986 and we stayed in touch at the International Tax Planning Association, where he remains a board member, so the deal came together naturally.
Christian Tailleur: The atmosphere is crucial. Within the space of a few meetings Francis’s colleagues had made clear their satisfaction at joining us. Our team is highly diverse, containing a rich mix of nationalities and languages, and we have extremely low staff turnover. Because we don’t have an external investor such as a venture capitalist firm, we are able to focus on stable, organic growth. Our new clients normally come recommended by our existing ones.
JB: Right from the start, we wanted to build the company on solid fundamentals. In our sector, having a stable team is critical. Our clients would not be pleased if they had to deal with a new project manager every year, with all the delay, extra cost and errors that would bring.
CT: I often hear in Luxembourg that employees’ first consideration is their salary, but I would not agree. Today employees expect to be paid fairly, but they also want to be respected and to benefit from a friendly work environment where they can develop their skills. Take one example: our head of administration started 18 years ago as a receptionist.
KR: Today companies such as Totalserve have clients with increasingly complex structures and needs. To serve them well, you need critical mass and a very stable team. Having a staff of 20 people will give Francis’s clients access to a wider range of skills and capabilities, and we will be able to serve bigger clients by handling a more extensive range of tasks.
“We have the network that enables us to provide that substance by hiring the best qualified individuals”
How do you see the requirements of your clients evolving?
CT: Each company working with us enjoys a close relationship – we provide administrative and accounting services, but also advise on financing, treasury and loans. As our clients place greater trust in us, the scope of our services grows too. We provide advice, connect them with the contacts they need, and help them grow. That’s down to the substance we offer, which explains our need for more space – hence our move last December from our previous offices of 700 square metres to the 1,200 square metres of our new premises.
JB: We have a network that enables us to provide that substance by hiring the best qualified individuals, and we benefit from our membership of a whole business ecosystem here in Luxembourg.
FH: I have always been optimistic, and while wehave to adapt to the new requirements of businesses considering moving here, new opportunities are continually arising. For example, a client from Haiti requires compliance in French and English – something that’s very easy to provide in Luxembourg.
KR: We note that certain costs, such as fees for establishing and maintaining Soparfis, have doubled over the past five years. I hope the Luxembourg government will keep in mind that competitiveness is “key” if the country is to remain attractive.