GERMANY – Faros Consulting, a two-year-old investment advisor for institutional clients, has hired another consultant from rival FERI.

Faros said that as of last January 1, Gernot Specht had joined it as its fifth managing partner. Prior to joining Faros, the 37-year-old Specht had been responsible for asset manager selection at FERI Institutional Advisors (FIA).

Faros said Specht’s focus would be the selection of real estate funds for institutional investors.

“We’re delighted to have recruited such a heavyweight in the institutional advising market as Gernot. He enjoys an excellent reputation among both asset managers and institutional investors,” commented Rainer Buth, one of Faros’ two founding partners.

Faros’ other founding partner is Uwe Rieken. Rieken and Buth were colleagues at FIA, before they decided to start their own investment consultancy in the autumn of 2003.

A year later, Rieken and Buth persuaded Frank Umlauf, another former colleague of theirs at FIA, to join their consultancy as its fourth partner.

Specht’s departure means that since late 2003, FIA has lost at least eight investment consultants. Four went to Faros and three to Watson Wyatt, which has set up its own investment consultancy in Frankfurt.

However, in an interview with IPE last month, FIA chief executive Arnd Thorn stressed that FIA had not only replaced these lost consultants, but actually enlarged its team to 20 people.

“It’s always unfortunate when a house loses good people, but we have more than made up for these losses and the fact is we didn’t lose a single institutional client,” Thorn told IPE at FERI’s headquarters in Bad Homburg, a suburb of Frankfurt.

According to Thorn, FIA is Germany’s leading consultant, advising on between €250bn and €270bn in institutional assets.

Frankfurt-based Faros advises on €16bn in institutional assets. Its biggest client is the VBL, a €10bn pension fund for 1.9m public sector employees in Germany.

At Faros, Buth is in charge of equity fund selection, while Umlauf is chiefly responsible for risk management. Bond fund selection is handled by Eberhard von Alten, Faros’ third managing partner.

Rieken, meanwhile, is responsible for Faros’ marketing and communications.