Europe's markets come the consultants' way SWITZERLAND
The Swiss market continues to be fairly dominated by the domestic players being recently merged PPCMetrics, Ecofin, Complimenta and Coninco which operates more in the French sector. These firms control the field in terms of manager selection though advice on custody or international manager selection remains minimal, which on first glance would leave a wide scope for the global consultants. However, international manager searches are limited as domestic money managers tend to rule the roost in terms of mandates.
The global consultants have found their way into the market through selling performance measurement with a fair degree of success though the vast majority of funds are still opting for the local players. Frank Russell has teamed up with Buck to set up Swiss Plan Monitor, a performance measurement service specifically targeted at Swiss pension funds, and William Mercer and Callan Bacon & Woodrow are also developing a presence in this market. Multinationals and Anglo-Saxon or US headquartered companies are biased towards the international consultants with the recent addition of Towers Perrin which is pushing itself into the market. They still play their part but they are not becoming more important domestically, they have their clientele and their stake of the business, and the business is growing and they are with it," says Christof Strassle at Vontobel Asset Management in Zurich. "It's a tough one for them, the culture is hard." The consultancy market is growing though. Five years ago, an overwhelming majority of managers approached the market directly compared to today where around two thirds of mandates now go through consultant firms. Risk management processes are also creating a stir and consultants are gearing up to offer their expertise. "PPC have a long lasting relationship with a lot of companies here in Switzerland, they are probably the number one consultancy firm in Switzerland and with the merger with Metrics they will become more competitive in the risk management area." The merged company now has an estimated market share of between 15% and 20% of the Swiss consultancy market. Banks are stearing unusually clear of the consultancy arena, focusing purely on the asset management function though some providers are moving into the ALM field. Rachel Oliver"