Interviewing Tim Duine from Aeternus

What are the biggest challenges that you are facing at your current job?
To be honest, I don’t know any real challenge that I’m currently facing. However, if I have to mention one, I sometimes have trouble dealing with clients that not taking my advice seriously purely because of my relatively short working career (~5 years). I know as a ‘young professional’ you have to cope with that and sometimes clients have more need for peers, however, 9 out of 10 times it’s not justified.

One way to deal with this is to work on being convincing. After all, you know what you are talking about (related to M&A), the customer doesn’t.

What kind of skills do you think will be needed in 20 years from now as a financial advisor?
Soft skills, especially empathy and expectation management of the stakeholders during the transaction. As in our profession more and more will be based on/supported by software and AI, these human factors will be essential to distinguish ourselves and really add value for your customer.

How important is the acquisition of soft skills, and cultural sensitivity as business becomes more focused on cross border deals?
Very important. As mentioned before, with human factors (i.e. soft skills, etc.) we can really add value in realising the transaction. Good communication between the cross-border advisors regarding the cultural sensitivity certainly contributes to this.

Which are the biggest geo-political and economic pitfalls that can have an impact on your deal-making?
Differences in market conditions between countries or geographical blocks. Besides general market conditions, such as good/bad economic conditions and high/low interest rates, differences in local political policies may have implications on the development of these local markets. Therefore, some local markets are more developed than others, which has impact on cross-border deal-making.

What advice would you give to a youngster looking to start out as an M&A advisor?
Try to be involved in as much deals as possible. It sounds cliché, but you learn this profession the quickest way through ‘learning by doing’. Try to stay involved in a deal as long as possible by thinking ahead of the steps that will come in the process and have a proactive attitude on how to be involved in these steps.

Can you think of anything curious and of note that has happened during a transaction in your career so far?
It’s really a great feeling when a transaction is closed and you guided your customer in this ‘once in a lifetime opportunity’. Most of the times, the customers are very grateful, even though this is just your job.

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