LONDON - Despite what it terms “difficult markets”, Goldman Sachs’ asset management division in Europe now has 8% more asset managers than a year ago, though Goldman was unable to provide headcount numbers.

“Since January 2002 the number of professionals working for Goldman Sachs Asset Management in Europe has increased by 8%,” says the firm in a news release.

The company, which has 32.5 billion euros of European pension assets under management, also said that it has hired former Merrill Lynch investment managers’ senior portfolio manager Michael Stanes. Hugh lawson and Nadja Pinnavaia have been promoted internally to become co-heads of the firm’s European hedge funds strategies businss in London.

“Despite difficult markets, we have been continuing to grow our assets under management and, in line with the expansion of our business we’ve continued to deepen our investment teams,’ says Suzanne Donohoe, co-head of Goldman Sachs Asset Management Europe.