EUROPE - Hermes' advisory subsidiary has formed a joint venture with research company IVOX to advise German pension funds on becoming active shareholders.

Hermes Equity Ownership Services currently advises clients with collectively more than €75bn in assets under management.

Karlsruhe-based IVOX specialises in analysing AGMs, proxy voting and computing disclose thresholds.

In other news, GAM is to bring US investment manager Fermat's GAM FCM Cat Bond to the institutional market.

The vehicle invests him catastrophe bonds triggered by natural disasters - an asset class Fermat claims proved itself during the financial crisis because these bonds are based on relatively rare occurrences, rather than on macro factors.

A spokeswoman for GAM said the bonds would appeal to pension funds because they were "a good diversifier - uncorrelated to equity markets".

She added: "There is an increase in the number of insurers bringing these bonds to market. The universe is expanding."

Fermat manages $2.2bn (€1.6bn) of pension fund money.