EUROPE – Dexia Asset Management says it plans to expand in the Netherlands, Spain, Italy, Austria and Scandinavia.

“Geographically, Dexia AM intends to consolidate its position further on its home markets (Belgium, Luxembourg and France) and to expand its activities in countries like the Netherlands, Spain, Italy, Austria and Scandinavia, said Hugo Lasat, chairman of Dexia AM’s executive committee.

He said that the firm has “an organic growth capacity of three to seven billion euros a year” – it would achieve this expansion by focusing on three client segments.

The first was institutional clients such as pension funds, insurance companies and local authorities. The second was third party distributors. And it would pursue sales through the Dexia Group “in order to benefit from its highly diversified client portfolio”.

Dexia says that 38% of its assets under management come from institutional clients. Seven percent are management contracts on behalf of private investors. Just over half are placed in investment funds.

“The product range will be further streamlined and rationalised,” Lasat said. Dexia would will try to achieve a balanced product range with 60% in equities and diversified management and 40% in the management of money market and Bond funds.

Dexia said its assets under management rose by 4.6 billion euros to 59.7 billion euros in the first eight months of 2003. Of this, 2.6 billion euros was new cash, “principally from institutional clients”.

Citing data from McKinsey & Co., Lasat suggested that around one in every four European asset managers lost money in 2002 “and will probably do so again in 2003”.

“Despite that, 2003 is looking good: the markets are regaining confidence and substantial new subscriptions to UCITS have been observed in some major European countries (France, Luxembourg, Germany and Italy) both in Equity and Bond funds.”