In 1985 Martien van Winden began an informal fund to manage the assets of his extended family. In 2006, the Hoofbosch fund was widened to include assets outside of the family and became registered under the supervision of Dutch financial regulators. At that time, Martien's brother-in-law, Robbert-Jan Engels, joined the fund to manage the business side of the operations, including compliance. Starting from just 10 million euros under management (AUM), it grew to more than 150 million AUM by 2016.
Martien van Winden has spent more than 35 years as an investment professional, economic historian and fund manager. He began his career at Robeco, where he was responsible initially for Dutch equities. Later he covered German, British, Italian, French and U.S. companies. Even back then, he did his homework. He visited hundreds of companies yearly and this is where he first observed that companies that are managed conservatively and not flashy in terms of receptions, drivers and décor - were the best performing ones. "A sober headquarters sets the tone for the company, even for luxury brands. These companies can afford to be flashy but they choose not to be," says Martien.
Martien recalls his first annual general meeting (AGM) at Kellogg’s. "We went to Battle Creek, Michigan. The AGM was held in a small, smelly theatre. The CEO of the company himself greeted us. We were offered no coffee or even water. After three quarters of an hour meeting, we left with a voucher for $1.50 to spend on our next package of cornflakes," he says.
In 2000, at the top of an economic boom, Martien published a bestseller on the Dutch economic history 'Rijk Blijven' ('Staying Rich'). In this book, he warned about the herd behavior of investment bankers and advised trading stock for bonds. In 2001, he published 'Nederland De Schatkist van Europa' ('The Netherlands, the Treasury of Europe'), in which he describes the ups and downs of the European unification and the introduction of the Euro. He forewarning the danger of the 'Euro-experiment'. In 2003, he published, along with Marius Rietdijk, his book on scenario planning, 'Slag om de toekomst' ('Battle for the Future'). In 2010 his latest book 'De Financiële Canon van Nederland' ('The Financial Canon of the Netherlands') was published. Van Winden is a guest teacher in strategic management at the Free University (Vrije Universiteit) of Amsterdam, the University of Amsterdam, Erasmus University Rotterdam. He is also a member of the Accreditation commission of DSI (Dutch Securities Institute).