Consultant William M. Mercer’s Investment Consulting Practice advised on a record 800 investment manager searches last year worth $61.5bn – a jump in assets of 18% from 1999’s $52.1bn of investment advisory work.

And Mercer says it believes the figure represents the highest volume of manager searches ever advised on by an investment consultancy in any one year.

The figure of 800 searches shows an increase of four per cent on the 769 carried out in 1999.
In terms of the split of assets placed by location of client, 54% was in Europe, 34% in the Americas and 12% in Asia/Pacific, with Europe experiencing the strongest growth rate in search activity for 2000.

Mercer’s global head of manager research, Bill Muysken, comments: “The key driver of this trend is the accelerating rate of migration from balanced management to specialist management structures across Europe, and particularly in the UK.
“ It looks like the days of conventional balanced management are numbered.”

He adds: “The benefit for our clients is that this scale of activity enables us to fund substantial investment in manager research.”

Within the main countries where Mercer operates, domestic equity was the most popular product category.
Mercer also notes that every client implementing specialist management used at least one domestic equity manager, with many using two or three.

International equity tended to be the second most commonly selected product category and was consequently the most popular single product category across Mercer’s overall client base worldwide – accounting for about 15% of the total.