FRANCE - The team responsible for Lehman Brothers' Asset Managment's anti-benchmarking methodology for pension funds today said it would continue as an independent organisation after a full management buyout (MBO).

Following the agreement which took several months, TOBAM will continue as an independent asset management boutique and wil remain under the helm of Yves Choueifaty, as well as retaining the full team of 16 employees formerly employee by Lehman Brothers Asset Management France.

Pension funds have responded positively to the move as Philip Menco, chief executive at the €1bn De Eendragt Pensioen fund - which transitted from an enhanced indexing, or alpha, equities strategy to the Lehman's anti-benchmarking strategy - told IPE "we are happy they are continuing".

That said, Menco added despite finding it an "excellent product", if its services had initially been offered by a boutique investors with 16 employees, the pension fund would not have invested.

TOBAM mainly targets pension funds and will focus in the coming months on clear communication with its existing clients.

Choueifaty told IPE TOBAM expects to double its assets under management, currently around €800m, by the end of next year.

He added TOBAM's largest client, a Dutch pension fund, had increased its investments at the end of September, after Lehman's bankruptcy, and was considering a potential second mandate.

The anti-benchmark strategy has been designed to offer an alternative to using market cap weighted indices as a core equity market exposure, which investors hold to capture the equity risk premium.

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