GLOBAL - After the merger Bank of New York and Mellon (BoNY/Mellon) will focus on further building out their asset management business, according to Gerald Hassel, president of BoNY.

"In terms of priorities of future investment, I think at the top of the list is going to be further build out of asset management and some of the product lie gaps that may exist there, although it is fairly full offering," Hassel said at the Citigroup 2007 Financial Services conference in New York.

Asked whether the index business was something to look into for the asset management side, Bob Kelly, CEO of Mellon, said: "The index product business, of course, is growing rapidly but its profits are not. It's a pretty skinny business."

He added that the focus will be on adding alpha and active asset management. The new corporation's combined assets under management will top $1.1trn (€851bn). 

On the custody side, Thomas Renyi, CEO of BoNY, said that the new company "will set the standards in terms of service, financial performance and ultimate shareholder value". Hassell added that "if we can find opportunities to grow [our asset servicing side] more quickly in Europe and Asia through some level of acquisitions, we'll pursue it". BoNY/Mellon's combined assets under custody will surpass $17trn.

Meanwhile, BoNY said it will include European swaptions, foreign exchange options and OTC equity options in its independent valuation service.

"As greater numbers of institutional investors include the use of derivatives in their investment strategies, the demand for independent pricing has never been greater", said Richard P Stanley, executive vice president and head of Global Investor Services Product Management and Accounting Services at BoNY.

The bank's clients can access the pricing information via Inform, BoNY's internet-based information delivery and transaction platform.

In a separate development, BoNY has appointed Josée Denis as vice president for its European transfer agency based in Luxembourg.

In this newly created role Denis "will promote the Bank's transfer agency service in Europe to major investment management clients", the bank noted in a statement.  Prior to her appointment at BoNY Denis worked as head of strategic initiatives shareholder services at RBC Dexia Investor Services and director in the PricewaterhouseCoopers Luxembourg advisory services practice.

She is a member of working groups at the European fund and asset management association (EFAMA) and association of the Luxembourg fund industry (ALFI).