19 February 2018

The economic importance of foreign investment

Sebastien D’Hondt

Head of Clients Belgium at ING Belgium

Belgium has always played host to many European decision centres. That is good for the economy and leads to additional strategic investments that create both direct and indirect employment. So says Sebastian D’Hondt, Head of Clients Belgium, ING

The advantages Flanders has to offer foreign investors are well known. It offers a well educated workforce, the presence of European institutions, incentives for a Research & Development (R&D) department and a competitive tax regime. These are the reasons why foreign investors often choose Flanders.

Many of them come from the US, China, Japan, France, the UK or Germany. And they expect efficient banking services. One of ING’s strengths is that the bank is generally already familiar with the foreign company that wishes to invest here, thanks to its international network in forty countries. And, of course, the bank has experience in providing services to multinationals.

Wide range of banking services

Banking services are offered at a variety of levels. Companies can count on the smooth organisation of their payments and cash flow management (often cash pooling). Local funding is possible as a supplement to the parent company’s funds. In addition, ING provides support with foreign currencies and exchange rates.

At European level, there are various services for Belgian hubs with responsibility for several European offices. And for expats in the Flemish offices, ING offers a targeted range of services from account management, credit and debit cards to customised programmes within the framework of employee benefits.

Potential beneficial impact of Brexit

Who knows, Brexit may create opportunities for Belgium and Flanders. Especially if foreign companies with an HQ in the US or Asia are looking to open a base in Europe from which to cover all of Europe. This may or may not be combined with a distribution of various activities across several countries, such as a sales office, production centres, an R&D department and so on.

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