SWITZERLAND - ING Investment Management Europe is not prepared to enter the UK market at the moment because its regulations are too complicated, says chief executive Angelien Kemna.

Kemna said: The reason why we currently do not want to go into the UK market is because regulations are complicated for a continental European organization.”

She told IPE at the IFM conference in Geneva that in order to access the UK market ING would have to spend time and money trying to set up a distribution channel apart from the existing ING Direct.

“We do not think it is profitable for us to go to the UK at this stage,” she added - but indicated the fund management firm may cross the channel in the next two years.

“If and when ING Direct as a distribution channel wants to distribute ING funds it might just give us enough leverage to go over to the UK. But it is my expectation that we will certainly do not to this in 2005 and potentially we will look in 2006/2007.”

ING IM’s target for 2005 is focusing on the German market, where it can count on a “very decent distribution channel” that allows to set up business at relatively low cost.

“This has been our business model throughout continental Europe: having some affiliate business that pays for costs. This is just the way we work - small steps, growing fast and then investing.”

ING is also keeping an eye on smaller countries like Portugal and has set up units in the Nordic region.

Last month ING IM named Alan Denholm, deputy chief investment officer at Insight, as its new head of European equities. He takes over from Frits Moolhuizen, who has left.