GERMANY - Feri Institutional Advisors (FIA), a German investment consultant, says it has hired 10 new employees and plans to make several additional appointments during the course of the year.

FIA said that as a result of the new hires, its staff now totalled more than 50 people. "The new hires are a reflection of our success in the institutional consulting business," commented Arnd Thorn, chief executive  at FIA's headquarters in Bad Homburg.

"Signs are that this growth will continue in 2007, which is why we are planning additional hires for the coming months," Thorn added, without being specific.

FIA said the 10 new employees were working in the areas of asset-liability consulting, fund and manager selection as well as fund-of-funds, covering both traditional asset classes and alternatives. 

Regarding its business fortunes in 2006, Thorn recently told IPE in an interview that FIA had acquired 20 new clients during the year, bringing the total to 120. Around three-fourths of these clients are pension funds.

Thorn added that due to this new business, the number of institutional assets advised on by FIA had increased by €20bn to €305bn. This makes it the market leader in Germany based on this measure.

There is still no news about the high-profile departure of Hartmut Leser, a former FIA managing director who helped establish the firm as the market leader during its 10-year existence and left FIA last September.

It is still unclear where he is going, though there has been speculation now that he may join a foreign asset manager. Leser himself has not commented on this.