UK - Mercer Human Resource Consulting has appointed Chris Evans as leader of its bundled pension services operations in the UK - Mercer Retirement Solutions and Mercer Employee Benefits.

He'll be based in London and joins the firm from banking group HBOS, where he was head of sales and marketing for European Financial Services. He previously spent nine years as managing director of several major Prudential businesses in both Europe and Asia.

Mercer Retirement Solutions, launched in the UK earlier this year, focuses on a flat fee-based benefits management, administration, investment and member communication service.

The Employee Benefits business was acquired last year from Marsh, and focuses on insured pension services.

Paul O'Faherty, Europe head of HR Services, said: "This key appointment will give us the leadership to refine our services and secure a pre-eminent place in the growing marketplace for packaged pension solutions - alongside our more bespoke consulting services.

"We are delighted to be welcoming Chris into the Mercer organisation. With his impressive background and expertise, we believe he brings important qualities to this new role."

The firm also said it plans to expand its global research of alternative investments - "to give clients access to in-depth analysis of a broader and more diverse range of alternative products". 

Areas would include equity-based hedge funds, fixed income-based hedge funds, directly-invested private equity funds and multistrategy funds.

It's in the process of doubling the number of alternatives specialists in its research team from six at the start of this year to a projected 12 at year end.

Meanwhile, a report in Pensions & Investments citing an internal memo, said Mercer HRC would cut its work force by roughly 480 people, or 3% of its total staff.