Expansion in Europe and Asia is being planned by Micropal, the UK-based investment fund data group, following its acquisition by Standard & Poors (S&P), the US financial information group.

Managing director Mark Adorian says: Our first objective will be an increased market share in the US at institutional, financial planner and retail levels."

Currently, Micropal derives 80% of revenues from the institutional market and the balance from the financial advisory/planning market, with little coming from consumer products. "To be the definitive statement of re-cord pertaining to mutual fund information, we need to penetrate these three markets," says Adorian.

For the institutional market the aim is to be "a truly one-stop shop with advanced value -added analytics to meet every requirement of the institutions." Now, with the resources of S&P, he says: "Micropal will be deepening the data contact of the 40,000 funds we track. The more depth we have in the database, the more value we can add. We have the software cap-ability, we just need to be able to collect more information."

Micropal founder and retiring chairman Christopher Poll, who will provide consulting services to the company, says the company has good penetration of the European market.

"Where Europe will be affected is through the depth and range of additional products and the adaptation of these for mutual fund industry.

"The business is no longer a cottage industry," he says. Adorien adds: "Clients want us to develop internationalfund standards and ratings on a global transparent basis, doing due diligence on every manager and how they run funds. We have the data and methodology, but we do not have enough intellectual capital to do it in enough cities, without making a huge investment costing tens of millions."

Micropal will be working with Fund Research, the London-based fund information group recently acquired by S&P. Adorien says: "If we can create a vehicle that puts quant together with the qualitative, you will have created the ultimate powerhouse."

Adorien approached S&P and did a presentation in August, with the deal being clinched last month. "We could have sold for more money to an on-line vendor, but that would have de-stroyed our independence, as one on-line supplier will not supply another."

Micropal has 15 offices in 11 countries.

Fennell Betson"