GERMANY – Fidelity Investment Services is to beef up its institutional investment presence in Germany and Austria by growing its advisory business through its Frankfurt office, according to recently appointed director of institutional business, Olaf John.

John, the former London based director of European institutional business at Barclays Global Investors (BGI), says he will be responsible for Fidelity’s institutional business in both Germany and Austria, commenting:
“Up to now, the institutional side has been handled from London,”
“The group has some clients in Germany, and it is a question of building on this base.”
The focus, he says, will be on advisory business, as the group does not have a KAG vehicle, and John adds that there are no plans to set one up: “The aim will be to leverage from existing relationships on the retail side, such as insurance companies who are a distribution outlet for Fidelity funds, which might be interested for their internal funds to be invested with us.”
“This covers much of the same ground as when I was with BGI and I have much the same responsibilities as well. The two main functions will be business development and client servicing,” he says.

Fidelity’s institutional business is not as well developed in Germany as the retail side, where it has been active for a number of years, and employs over 170 people.

John says he sees no contradiction in switching from BGI’s passive approach to Fidelity’s highly active style, noting that in the past he had been promoting passive investment within core-satellite or similar mixed approaches.

The decision to make the move from BGI was only made after lengthy consideration, he adds: “I became convinced of Fidelity’s business approach and commitment to the German market. But I do not regret for one moment the time I spent with BGI, as I really enjoyed it and learned a lot, and I met interesting and knowledgeable people.” The Fidelity opening was an opportunity he could not pass by, he maintains.

John joined BGI in 1999, having previously worked for consultant Towers Perrin in Frankfurt as head of asset consulting.