GERMANY – Fund manager DekaBank has formed a joint venture with Neuburger & Partner, a Munich-based actuarial and pensions consultancy, to provide pensions consulting to German institutional clients.

Deka is the asset management arm of Gemany’s state-owned savings banks (Sparkassen) and regional banks (Landesbanken). Beyond these shareholders, Deka’s institutional clients include pension funds.

Deka said its venture with Neuburger would offer the whole range of pension consulting, most notably actuarial services, asset-liability studies, liquidity management and adoption of international accounting standards.

A Deka spokesman said, however, that the venture would not insist that a client have its asset management done by Deka. “It will naturally be up to the client to decide which services it wants,” he said.

Deka said the venture would target pension funds tied to German small- and midsize firms. It added that its connection with Landesbanken would enable it to generate business from larger pension funds.

Angelika Roitzheim, head of pensions consulting at Deka, noted that “the two firms fit well together owing to their respective client bases”.

Neuburger’s clients come from small firms while Deka’s come from among the Sparkassen.

The venture is the latest entry into what is expected to be a booming German pensions consultancy market.

Beyond established German players like Heubeck, Heissmann and Höfer Vorsorgemanagement, the market encompasses big foreign houses like Mercer, Towers Perrin and since the end of 2003, Watson Wyatt.

Hewitt of the US also entered the market last January, when it formed a joint venture with Munich-based actuarial and benefits consultancy Bode Grabner Beye.