Foreword

PARTNERSHIP An extraordinary year thanks to passion and teamwork

In 2005 we changed ownership for the second time in our 60-year history. It was therefore a historic year and one of major change. At the start of the year we launched project Spring -a project aimed at readying us for new shareholders- which was concluded in the summer when a share purchase agreement was signed between the old shareholders the pension funds ABP and PGGM - and the new.

We are delighted with our new shareholders, a consortium of international investors organised by J.C. Flowers & Co. LLC. They give us true partnership at an international level. We have their backing for our strategy and the independence to carry it out. And, we get access to a new international network which we can tap for ideas and deal fl ow.

Following the change of ownership we conducted a comprehensive strategic review. Project Momentum gave us 100 days to come up with a thorough set of strategic goals. The outcome of Momentum confirms that the course we undertook three years ago, designed to turn NIBC into a leading independent Merchant Bank in Northwest Europe, remains sound. With our new insights and the adjustments we have made to our focus, we are even more confident of accomplishing that goal. In fact, we will accelerate our current strategy.

In this year of major change, we have also continued to strengthen the bank and reported a net profit just above our record year 2004. How did we do it? With the passion and teamwork of our internal partnership the staff of NIBC, who became shareholders of our firm in 2005. I am grateful to our team for their achievements in 2005.

Partnership is the pillar of our strategy, and also the theme of this annual report. In the next phase of our growth we look forward to expanding the NIBC partnership to a more international level with our new shareholders.

So I end it here with a warm welcome to our new shareholders, and a thank you to our previous shareholders ABP and PGGM for their support over the last six years. Finally, I would like to thank our clients for entrusting us with their business in 2005.

Michael Enthoven
Chairman of the Managing Board