Saturday, June 16, 2007

What’s up in the Netherlands?

I met many very interesting human resource development professionals at the ASTD 2007 Conference and Exposition earlier in Atlanta, Georgia.

Five of them are from the Netherlands (Robert Visser, Rolf van der Meer and Coenraad van Haren) and Sweden (Annika Malmberg and Ylva Darnald).

Robert, Rolf and Coenraad are very enthusiastic and proud of their company—Akerendam, the topnotch management-consulting group in their country today.

In the light of the frenzied activities nowadays in our stock market, maybe we could learn from them. As Robert puts it:

“Did you ever wonder why some equity- and derivatives trading houses are much more successful then others? One of the most significant differences between them is the quality of their traders. But is it possible to assess the quality of a potential trader before you hire him or her, especially if that trader has no experience in trading derivatives or equities at all?

“In the Netherlands there is a company called Akerendam that has been testing people on their trading potential for more than 20 years in Europe, America and a part of Asia. The success of this assessment procedure has not only made Akerendam the most respected company on assessing trading potential in Europe, America and a part of Asia, but has also made their customers the most profitable and fastest growing in their business.

“First, their standardized simulations are exactly tailored to the customer’s strategy of derivatives and equity trading on the targeted exchange. Akerendam uses different and validated assessments for different exchanges with different trading systems. Whether the exchange uses a so-called open-outcry trading system or is totally electronic, Akerendam will use standardized simulations of the open outcry or the electronic trading system. If the customer trades via brokers on the telephone, Akerendam uses standardized simulations of trading with a broker on the telephone.

“Second, the selection psychologists of Akerendam know the trading business by heart and can work very closely together with their customers in the whole assessment center procedure. That means that they train their customers in assessment center skills to act as assessors in the whole procedure. That ensures total commitment of the customer on all selection decisions and will make the outcome of the assessment center easy transferable to a development plan for a high potential that will be hired.

“Third, the assessment center for trading potential measures competencies, not knowledge. Based on extensive research in the trading business Akerendam has uncovered the specific competencies that discern above average traders from average traders. Thus, it can detect the high potentials with any background in a broad population, unless they have the skills, attitude and intelligence and personality to acquire the necessary knowledge. ­Consequently the Akerendam ­assessment center consists of different simulations, intelligence and mathematical tests, personality tests and an interview.

“And last but not least; the assessment center for trading potential has been proven to be valid internationally. Akerendam has applied the assessment in Hong Kong, Sydney, New York, Chicago, Warsaw, London, Paris, Cologne and, of course, Amsterdam.

Sounds very interesting. I don’t think such a service is currently being offered by any local consulting company here. So, if you want your trading houses to be significantly more successful than others, a good start is to assess your candidates through this method and select the right people! Dr. Robert Visser guarantees a return on investment on your training and development costs per new employee and also ensures a high retention rate. You may write him at or call him at 035-678-22-50. You may also visit for more details.

Mississauga, Canada. Yesterday, the thermometer here in Ontario registered 35 degrees Celsius. Still, the humidity is low because of the vast open space and the tall trees that allow the wind to dance and whistle. Some 200,000 Filipino have adopted this serene and progressive country as their own. There are so many business opportunities, but Filipinos here prefer
to be employed rather than be entrepreneurial. There is not a single restaurant offering Philippine cuisine in the whole of Toronto and Montreal. There is one in Mississauga in some obscure location.


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