GERMANY - Aberdeen Asset Management is aiming to win up to €5bn from Germany's institutional market in the mid-term.

In Germany's institutional market, a volume of €3bn is generally considered by asset managers as the threshold for viability of the business. Foreign asset managers in Germany such as BNP Paribas and Merrill Lynch - prior to its takeover by BlackRock - are hovering around the €3bn mark.
"It's not our style to quote such targets, as fulfilling them is only part of the story. Our chief priority is to win profitable mandates. However, you can write €3bn to €5bn over the next few years," said Michel Alofs, head of European business development at Aberdeen.

The UK-based company is already understood to manage about €1bn on behalf of German clients but only about €200m comes from the institutional market.

Leading foreign asset managers in Germany, including UBS, Goldman Sachs and State Street, all have taken in around €10bn in assets or more.

"I would say that it is our long-term ambition to rank in the top third of foreign asset managers active in Germany," said Hartmut Leser, Aberdeen's new German head who was recruited from German investment consultant FERI. Having spent ten years at FERI building that business, Leser is a well-known figure among big German institutions, particularly pension funds.

Asked by IPE whether his connections in Germany's institutional market was Aberdeen's unique selling point, Leser replied that while he was flattered by the remark, "I wouldn't be successful if I didn't have a good product behind me."

"I was formerly a consultant and as such naturally sceptical of asset managers' claims. Well, Aberdeen convinced me," he added.

The number two at Aberdeen's new Frankfurt office is Gudrun Nagel, a former consultant at FERI who specialised in pension fund advising. Like Leser, she quit FERI last September.

Prior to its acquisition of Deutsche Asset Management's UK business in 2005, Aberdeen was known primarily as an equity specialist. However, the firm said that as a result of the acquisition, it offered bond expertise from its offices in London and Philadephia.