GERMANY - Andreas Fehrenbach, chief executive of German asset manager Activest, has resigned to make room for Dominik Kremer, the German head of Pioneer Investments, as part of Pioneer's full absorption of Activest this autumn.

Pioneer said Fehrenbach was leaving to "pursue other challenges outside of the firm".

Added Fehrenbach: "I'm convinced that the merger with Pioneer presents a big chance for Activest. I've reached my personal goal of making Activest a profitable and valuable asset manager, so this is the best moment to take on new challenges." Fehrenbach did not say where he was going.

Fehrenbach took over as Activest's CEO in December 2004, or seven months before Italian banking giant UniCredit said it would acquire HypoVereinsbank, Activest's parent in one of the biggest ever deals in European banking. UniCredit owns Pioneer Investments, an international asset manager.

At the time of deal, UniCredit said it would "centralise" the asset management activities of its bank - that is Pioneer - and HVB. Beyond Activest, which has €43bn in institutional assets under management and administration, HVB's portfolio included asset management boutique NordInvest (AUM: €4.6bn) and Indexchange, a provider of exchange traded funds.

Through its ownership of Bank Austria, HVB is also parent to Capital Invest, an Austrian fund company with AUM of €21bn, about half of which are institutional.

Pioneer's absorption of Activest is to be completed in the autumn. However, industry sources said it was still unclear when Capital Invest would be brought under it.

In a related development, a spokesman for Activest in Munich said as part of the changeover to Pioneer, its fund administration activities would be separated and run as a separate company.

Activest currently has 100 of its 400 employees doing fund administration, which entails back-office duties like reporting, bookkeeping and risk monitoring. Activest said the new company also would offer so-called ‘master funds'.

In a master fund, a single service provider centralises out back-office administration of an institutional investor's funds. The claimed benefits of the process are lower costs and greater transparency and risk management.

Activest's moves comes a month after Deutsche Asset Management said it had set up a new business unit new business unit dedicated to so-called ‘master funds' for institutional investors in Germany.