Norman Weisser on Nextcontinent’s banking and finance community

01 February 2021 7 min. read

Business communities form an integral part of binding Nextcontinent’s diverse citizens. Norman Weisser, who leads the network’s banking and finance community, sat down with to discuss how such communities work together and what the next year holds for its network of likeminded consultants. 

Nextcontinent is a network of leading independent consultancies in their respective markets, who are united by an entrepreneurial vision. Firms involved are considered citizens rather than ‘members,’ as the relationship they have with the network is based not on financial agreements, but on rights and responsibilities.

Having started life as a European network, Nextcontinent has since snowballed into a global grouping, and has complimentary skills across many, many cultures. Prospective citizens are vetted by Nextcontinent before admitting them into its pool of consultancies, which now total 15 citizens, operating across 40 countries and representing a global turnover of over $1 billion.

Norman Weisser, Partner at Eurogroup Consulting Germany

Eurogroup Consulting Germany is one of those citizens, and according to Norman Weisser – a partner at the firm in Germany – the group’s diversity and unique collaborative culture has helped cope with the challenges 2020 have levelled at the professional services industry. Having joined Eurogroup’s Germany wing thirteen years ago, Weisser specialises in IT strategy and governance, with a focus on the financial services and in particular asset and wealth management verticals across Germany and Austria.

Strengths of a global collaboration

For Nextcontinent, meanwhile, Weisser leads the network’s largest ‘business community’ – and has subsequently seen first-hand just how the network’s model is benefitting its members. “Now we are everywhere in the world and that meant a big change in how we collaborate together,” Weisser told “We are built on the pillars of trust – working together voluntarily – and while people might think in the beginning that the lack of clear rules, processes and financial links between each of us makes us fragmented, it actually makes us very strong.”

He continues, “Because unlike one of the huge firms such as the Big Four, where you know the others are there if needed; the voluntary character of our organization brings people together much closer as they really want to get something out of the relationship. Therefore, the connection created between Nextcontinent citizens is quite unique.” 

While Nextcontinent’s community of citizens might normally be considered local players in the consulting industry, being part of an international network gives them a global reach that can help them win work. As well as what Weisser calls the “marketing benefit” of being able to highlight the firm’s sheer size. “With S1 billion in turnover and $540 million in consulting, we are among the globe’s top 15 players.”

“Nextcontinent’s international profile is able to help citizens win work which would usually go to the likes of the Big Four almost by default,” he adds. 

In the last few years of Nextcontinent’s rapid expansion, its citizens have seen that this theoretical base has made it much easier to win major contracts at multinationals, known as MSAs. Sometimes known as a framework agreement, this is a contract reached between a corporate and a select list of preferred suppliers that spells out most of the terms that will govern future transactions, enabling exclusiveness and quick delivery of projects.

In an interview conducted last year, Eurogroup Consulting France partner François Pouzeratte said that buoyed by Nextcontinent’s global profile, the French citizen alone has “been able to sign between 30-40 big MSAs” in recent years, spanning a variety of different sectors. According to Weisser, Eurogroup has also enabled other Nextcontinent citizens to do the same in recent months. 

“We just helped, one of our South American citizens, win one of their contracts,” said Weisser. “We supported them with benchmarks, with knowhow and track record – and they were able to bring in our support as fellow Nextcontinent citizens for a pitch. That’s definitely an interesting benefit to every one of our citizens.” 

The 15 citizens of Nextcontinent

New ways of working

While Weisser noted that before 2020, a lot of network building for Nextcontinent had involved face-to-face meetings, including personal interactions – from attending a Romanian partner’s family celebration in Bucharest, to learning which football team a London partner supported – however, the network’s move to remote interaction has been smooth to say the least. Weisser admitted being surprised that going online has worked almost as well. 

“I would never have thought how well it works to go online.” Providing one example, Weisser explained how he “acquired a new client completely online; it was digital from pitch to completion and closing. I never met this client ‘in reality’. Working remotely can be very successful – the same has worked for Nextcontinent.”

Nextcontinent had planned to hold a global in-person meeting of its citizens in London, in May 2020 – however, when events conspired to prevent that, the network was able to make alternative plans. As a democratic network operating internationally, Nextcontinent had already had to find ways of enabling remote collaboration before the coronavirus lockdown – especially since the joining of citizens from the other side of the Atlantic.

He elaborated, “We will try to meet again in the future, but for now everyone knows how to deal with it. If Covid-19 had hit four years earlier – with the technology back then, and without the experience we had interfacing with North or South American citizens – it would have been a large challenge.” 

Key topics to address in 2021

Nextcontinent’s banking and finance community brings together leaders and consultants from the firm’s citizens specialised in the field. The community shares knowledge; exchanges best practices to be applied on projects and ensures that there is a platform for advancing offerings and client management.

Building on its democratic approach, “in early December we had a meeting to plan for our next year’s agenda – and everyone could vote with online tools.” Not surprisingly, artificial intelligence surfaced as key topic of interest, “and our citizens in France, Brazil and North America who specialise in the topic will now facilitate workshops at the start of 2021 to share best practices across the network.”

When asked what other topics might dominate Nextcontinent’s agenda for next year, Weisser said that following a year of very particular big talking points, citizens were broadly happy with more general topics moving forward. One such area of focus will be the continued adaptation to remote working that clients and consultants alike will continue to face in 2021. 

“The topic of “new ways of working” unites us” says Weisser. “This is a topic which Nextcontinent was very strong in before the pandemic, but it has changed a lot in recent months. Now you must also consider what you need in the home office, how you bring clients together in digital meetings, and what kind of tools and digital infrastructure is needed.”

Elsewhere, insurance, and investment banking topics – “something where a lot of money still flows in” – also provide important points of discussion, as well as “the mainstream digital stuff.” This includes artificial intelligence, big data, and ecosystems – with banks using their trusted position in society to leverage user data in an interconnected set of services where customers can fulfil a variety of needs in a single integrated experience. 

“This and much more offers us plenty of opportunities and best practices to share with other Nextcontinent citizens,” he concluded.