GERMANY – Consulting firm Hewitt Associates has formally launched its German joint venture with Bode Grabner Beye, a Munich-based actuarial and benefits consultancy.

In a joint statement, the partners said their venture, BodeHewitt AG & Co. KG, would provide the full range of occupational pensions consulting to local and international companies in Germany. This included benefits, investment consulting and pensions administration, they said.

The partners added that the venture’s 130 employees would operate from three offices in Germany, including Munich, Stuttgart and Wiesbaden.

The partners also said the chief reason for their tie-up was the enormous growth potential of German occupational pensions amid “the government’s withdrawal from the pensions arena”.

BodeHewitt has emerged almost a year after Christoph Bode, managing partner at Bode Grabner Beye, first told IPE his firm was looking for an international partner to replace Watson Wyatt.

In late 2003, Watson Wyatt and Bode’s firm dissolved a 22-year-old joint venture, after the US firm decided to go it alone in Germany. In setting up a Munich office, Watson Wyatt recruited 11 staff from the defunct venture, including Susanne Jungblut, its former managing director.

As IPE reported in May, Watson Wyatt also took on Torsten Köpke from German investment consultant FERI to head a new team that will compete with FERI and others like Alpha Portfolio Advisors, Mercer and RMC.

Köpke’s team will be based in Frankfurt once he takes over in the autumn.