BELGIUM - Fortis Investments, the asset management arm of the Fortis group, has nabbed Deutsche Asset Management's Keith Rake to become its new chief operating officer and member of the executive committee.

Rake will relieve chief executive Richard Wohanka from leading the firm's global operational infrastructure development, a task which he took over from previous COO Jean-Philippe Bailly, who left Fortis last year to join a Luxembourg-based asset management firm.

Previously managing director and chief investment officers for technology and operations at Deutsche AM, Rake takes up his position at Fortis from November 2.

Wohanka commented that the firm's increasing commercial and technical requirements created the need to bring in a "seasoned individual" as COO; the firm did not find someone suitable until coming across Rake, as spokeswoman confirmed.

The news comes amid the firm's announcement late last week that it has entered into an agreement to establish a Russian asset management joint venture with Russian firm CIT Finance Asset Management Company.

The aim of CIT Fortis Investments is "to offer both Russian and international clients investment management products in Russia and the CIS markets".

Fortis, with €111bn of assets under management, said that AO CIT Finance, a Kazakhstan-based asset management firm is also part of the joint-venture agreement.

The joint venture, in which both firms will own equal share and will co-manage the company, is expected to be completed by the end of this year, and will initially consist of 55 employees.