MVGM. These four letters form the name of one of the leading companies in Europe in the management of real estate assets. And yet, what does this acronym stand for? As we have grown internationally, many customers and other stakeholders are curious. The answer to this question leads us into the history and growth path of MVGM. Join us on this journey.
Specialization in property management originated in the Netherlands in the 1950s. Real estate agencies expanded into the insurance sector and later also into property management. In 1953 the multinational Unilever decided to outsource the management of its entire real estate portfolio, until then managed internally. The insurance company Meeùs took over the task and the larger properties were managed by third parties.
Meeùs was founded in the 1920s by Joseph Meeùs, a native of the Dutch city of Breda. Meeùs gained interest in the insurance business after a car accident, which resulted in some damage to his vehicle. In 1927, Meeùs opens his own insurance company. Its product portfolio included car insurance and fire insurance, and it quickly expanded its offer to mortgages and real estate. In 1953, real estate asset management was added to the portfolio of services. When, at the age of 52, Joseph Meeùs died, his company was one of the largest insurance companies in the Dutch province of North Brabant. Joseph's sons took control of the company and, in 2000, sold the Meeùs Group to AEGON.
After Unilever's controversial option to contract to a third party to manage its real estate portfolio, many Dutch insurers expanded their business by buying real estate agencies. In 2002 a large number of real estate service providers (among which Kamerbeek Groep, Baneke Graffner, Kamminga, van Calcar, Crab Noomen, Kentron and Christaan Smit) merged into a single organization: Meeùs. Initially, Meeùs had four independent business units, but three years later these business units were transformed into three independent private companies, focusing on Insurance, Real Estate and Property Management.
Menno van der Horst and I (current co-owners of MVGM) were hired by Meeùs to restructure the four business units and transform them into a company specializing in real estate asset management. In the Netherlands, this activity had always been seen as a derivation of the main activity: the insurance activity. To separate Property Management from the Meeùs insurance company, Menno and I chose to continue with the Meeùs VastGoed Management brand, which in 2007 was abbreviated to MVGM.
In 2008, a Management Buyout followed. Menno and I founded the first independent asset management company in the Netherlands, with around 300 employees. We are still very proud of this step today. Meeùs remained one of the largest insurance service providers in the country. In 2017, AON purchased Meeùs (Unirobe Meeùs Group) from AEGON, and in 2019, the Meeùs brand was integrated into AON.
For years, MVGM was the only company in the Netherlands to focus on real estate asset management. As operating costs increased and the needs of tenants became more demanding, new property management companies emerged in our country, but also in other European countries. Despite this, MVGM never lost focus and the will to develop and innovate. Even today, it always seeks to anticipate the needs of owners and tenants. MVGM has had the flexibility to innovate and remain a leader in the Netherlands and, since 2019, extend that leadership to other countries.
Property Management is a profession in its own right. Even if a property is close to perfection from a technical point of view, it is possible that tenants and users will have a less satisfying experience. It is up to the Property Manager to work towards offering the best possible experience, not neglecting the good technical condition of the building. This attitude and way of being require empathy, whether we are talking about an office, a shopping center or a house. Real estate asset management has been our core business for nearly 70 years. We're good at this! And we will remain focused on ensuring the best for our customers, tenants, employees and other stakeholders, so that on our 100th anniversary we are the leading Property Management company, not only in the Netherlands, but also in the rest of Europe.