EUROPE - Mercer Global Investments (MGI) has formally launched its European multi-manager business from its Dublin office. At first it will target the UK and Ireland but it will seek to expand to continental Europe.

"Many trustees simply don't have the time or the expertise to hire and fire investment managers. It's an onerous task and a growing number want to delegate these decisions to investment experts," said Tom Murphy, head of global investments in Europe.

He told IPE that Mercer sees interest in multi-manager products right across Europe. He said that MGI had already had "conversations with various entities in Germany, Switzerland, Spain, Belgium and the Nordic region" although no specific plans of accessing these markets has been made yet.

Murphy sees the interest in multi-manager solutions less related to the size of the pension funds but to how sophisticated they are and how much they want "to be on top of detailed investment issues".

However, he suspects that the majority of MGI clients are small to medium sized funds.

Among these clients it is fairly common to outsource the majority of assets or all of them to MGI. A very common divide is to manage the domestic portfolio in-house and outsource the international exposure, Murphy explained.

With larger clients he sees the interest in multi-manager solutions in certain markets, e.g. emerging markets, "where even a large plan may not have sufficient assets to get a good spread of managers".

"We can now offer trustees a choice of how they access this valuable research resource - either directly with the help of our Investment Consulting business or through an outsourced solution offered by Mercer Global Investments," said Simon O'Regan, Head of Europe for Mercer Human Resource Consulting.

MGI can be accessed either directly or through Mercer Retirement Solutions which "offers trustees the ability to outsource all aspects of their pension arrangements, including consulting, administration, and member communication in addition to asset management", a press release stated.
MGI currently has around $12bn (€9.5bn) in assets under management, including over $500m already gathered by its new European business.