UK – GAM, the $54bn (€44bn) hedge fund arm that’s now part of Julius Baer, is renewing its focus on the global institutional market and bringing investment consultants onboard to help build on its institutional business.

“The timing is right,” said GAM global institutional marketing manager Melinda Carter, referring to growing institutional interest in products that GAM can offer pension funds.

“Some specific products are in the works,” said Carter. These include a look at liability driven investing as a possibility in the future, and GAM’s Diversity fund of hedge funds.

According to Carter, a reorganisation of GAM in 2004 put a renewed focus on the institutional side of the business. This was further strengthened by the creation of an institutional team under Julius Baer investment head David Solo.

The new institutional push was a “softly, softly approach”, according to Carter, who added GAM needed to build up a team first to enhance the institutional side.

There have been 14 appointments over the past year, said Carter. These include GAM’s head of UK and Northern Europe’s institutional business, Alex Shaw, and Joseph Geiger in the US. The Asian team has also been “beefed up” under David Lamb, who has been at GAM for approximately 15 years.

Reports today stated that GAM was looking for support from the investment consultant community, which largely still have an outdated perspective of the business.

Carter told IPE that its image among investment consultants could be due to the fact that GAM has not proactively communicated with them very much in recent years.

However, it has so far met with roughly 20 of the top global and UK consultants over the past few months. According to Carter, GAM is looking to see how it can assist pension fund trustees.

“We are happy to see how consultants think GAM can help,” she said, adding that they would be speaking at the Edhec conference, amongst others.

Carter stated that GAM could assist trustees, who may be looking for further information on specialist products, and publish more articles.

GAM has roughly $7.8bn of institutional assets under management. However, reports state that GAM’s definition of “institutional” may differ to the conventional meaning, resulting in a lower amount.

GAM become part of Julius Baer when the latter bought four wealth management firms from UBS in September last year.