Investment bank Goldman Sachs has formed a new multi-division group in London, to be headed by a senior investment consultant. The group will provide investment and other services to pension funds, insurance companies and multinationals in Europe.

Bacon & Woodrow investment partner Nigel O'Sullivan has been re-cruited to lead the European pension and insurance strategy group.

He will be working alongside Goldman Sachs Asset Management (GSAM), which is positioning itself for rapid expansion with plans to increase its marketing team by 75 to 375 in the next year.

GSAM has just appointed Adam Lessing as an executive director for sales and marketing. He was formerly managing director of Creditanstalt's OIG investment operation in Vienna. GSAM is currently looking for a UK head of marketing.

Around $40bn is managed in Eur-ope, with some $32bn for UK clients, the bulk of which is the CINMan British Coal pension fund investment management business acquired two years ago. The group sees opportunities in Europe, particularly in the UK with the poor performance of large UK asset managers. With the ex-pected shift to specialised mandates, it hopes to break into the relatively closed UK market. GSAM intends to capitalise on its investment banking relations with large corporate clients.

O'Sullivan says that the work of the new strategy group will cover five areas, in which asset management will play a large part.

The legislative framework in which pension funds operate, such as the UK's minimum funding requirement, will be analysed in order to offer new approaches. Goldman Sachs has done work concerning future and options and protection strategies, as to how you can cost-effectively put products around the total fund and maintain solvency while maximising returns," says O'Sullivan. Another area is efficient transition management following changes of managers or strategy.

On the multi-national side, he says: "Goldman wants to serve its global clients and I will be working with consultants or directly to implement worldwide investment programmes."

For insurers, the objective will be to advise on managing reserves and the changing European regulatory scene.

Regarding investment management, O'Sullivan says he will be working closely with GSAM. "I have been monitoring fund managers for the last 10 years and I think this is the most exciting fund management group in the world. There comes a time when you decide to assist them rather than sit on the sidelines and recommend," he adds. John Lappin"