EUROPE - Mercer says it is effectively entering the European asset management market with the launch of its multi-manager offering, Mercer Global Investments.

The division's head, Tom Murphy, told the Financial Times: "Where we did it before on an advisory basis before, now we're being appointed on an execution basis. From that perspective Mercer is effectively coming into the asset management business."

The paper said Mercer has some $12bn under multi-manager assets under management in Australia and the US, where it has been active for 10 and two years respectively.

The FT added that the multi-manager market grew 23% last year and is forecast to grow by 18% a year to 2009.

Murphy estimated there are about €250bn in multi-manager funds in Europe - which he predicts will double in the next five years.

The target market is the smaller pension fund. Murphy was quoted saying: "While these managers would not be interested in talking to our client, and where that client could certainly not appoint these managers themselves, we are large enough and we have the dedicated team to be able to do it."

Multinational companies saw the arrangement as good governance, enabling all their pension plans can get access to the best managers.

Meanwhile, Mercer Human Resource Consulting has appointed Caren Chambers as senior product development manager for its packaged pension service, Mercer Retirement Solutions.

She joins from Fidelity, where she was responsible for defined contribution product development.