UK – Insight Investment Management has named Sarah Aitken, head of defined contribution at rival Merrill Lynch Investment Managers, as its new head of institutional business.

Aitken, 40, was at MLIM for almost five years and will start in November.

She will report to Insight’s head of distribution and current acting head of institutional business, Charles Farquharson.

Farquharson has been the acting head since he joined Insight at the start of the year. He initially replaced Mark Connolly, who left to join Deutsche and then most recently Standard Life Investments in May 2005 as executive director.

“As we evolve our investment platform beyond traditional benchmark products towards one that provides a broad range of products and solutions, we have been seeking a high calibre individual to play a crucial role in leading and developing our institutional business,” said Farquharson.

“Sarah’s past achievements evidence her extremely strong credentials, particularly in client relationships, business management and people development.”

Aitken was initially an analyst at Cazenove financial advisors before joining JP Morgan. She was recruited by MLIM in 2000.

Insight – the asset manager of HBOS plc - has already attracted £1.5bn in new institutional mandates over the past year, according to Farquharson.