Repurposing institutions: trust offices and the Dutch financial system, 1690s-2000s

Abe De Jong, Joost Jonker, Ailsa Roëll, Gerarda Westerhuis

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1 Citation (Scopus)


Since the late seventeenth century, trust offices (administratiekantoren) that repackage securities have been a central institution in Dutch finance. Their basic form and functioning have remained largely the same, but over time, the repackaging has come to serve different purposes. Originally set up for administrative convenience, they helped to create liquidity, notably for foreign securities. From the 1930s, their primary purpose became to shield directors of large corporations from shareholder influence and hostile takeover threats. Subsequently, the trust offices evolved from general-purpose administrative units into dedicated foundations closely tied to individual companies and increasingly popular with foreign corporations as cheap anti-takeover devices. Their reincarnation as foundations also turned them into vehicles for the tax-efficient routing of international revenue flows via the Netherlands.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)197-221
Number of pages25
JournalEnterprise and Society
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2023


  • Corporate governance
  • Financial innovation
  • The Netherlands
  • Trust offices

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