EUROPE – ABN Amro has launched a new Life & Pensions Advisory group – and hired Lane Clark & Peacock’s Francis Fernandes and Watson Wyatt’s Keith Jecks in senior roles.

The Dutch-based bank said the new group would provide the global pension fund and life insurance industries with “a state of the art capital markets advisory platform to tackle a wide range of asset and liability management issues”.

The group would draw on ABN Amro’s capital markets expertise in areas such as derivatives-based risk management and debt capital markets. It will focus on actuarial, modelling and structuring.

Fernandes, LCP’s head of pensions research, will be the new unit’s head of actuarial. He will be based in London and report to Greg Major, global head of financial markets advisory.

Fernandes joined LCP in 2000 as a "blue-sky thinker", according to LCP’s web site. He became a partner in 2001 and head of pensions research in September 2002. He chaired many LCP working groups and led a think-tank within the firm. Before joining LCP he lectured in actuarial science.

“It’s always a blow to lose good people,” said LCP senior partner Martin Slack. He added Fernandes would be replaced by an external appointment, whom he could not yet name.

Slack added it was inevitable that suppliers of investment services such as ABN Amro would try to move into the market for investment advice – but said consulting firms could provide a more rounded service by also focusing on contributions. “We watch with interest what the investment houses are up to,” he said.

Jecks, a partner in Watson Wyatt’s investment practice, becomes ABN Amro’s global head of pension fund coverage, based in London. Jecks will report to Andrew Graham, global head of investor clients within its financial institutions and public sector team. The bank has also hired Aon’s Ferry Jacob as a modeller.

“We have developed Life & Pensions Advisory in response to demand for a single provider of advisory services for asset-liability mismatching and general risk management, who is also able to execute sophisticated solutions harnessing 21st century capital markets and derivatives technology,” Major said.