UK – Hedge fund group Man has named Piers Westerman to the new role of global head of institutional sales.

He joins from BlueCrest Capital Management, in which Man has a 25% stake that was bought in 2003 for £105m (€152m). Westerman previously worked at Merrill Lynch and J P Morgan, a Man spokesman said.

The move comes as Man said it is “winning mandates in new areas such as Scandinavia, the UK and the Netherlands”.

It said: “Outside Europe, as interest in these products continues to develop, other strategic areas for institutional sales include Asia Pacific, particularly Japan, and the Middle East.

“To take advantage of this growth in the institutional market, we have recently appointed a new global head of institutional sales.”

Man said in its 2004 earnings report yesterday that fund of fund sales to institutions were a record $5.8bn – up 57% from the prior year.

It said: “Institutional investors often prefer to allocate to fund of funds managers who can offer access to a wide range of alternative investment styles combined with investing in a large number of underlying managers.

“In this way an institution can achieve diversification of returns with low volatility and correlation and allocate significant assets.”

It added that the overall growth in sales was “largely from the ongoing structural shift by institutions looking to develop exposure to the alternative asset class”.