GLOBAL – Consulting firm Mercer says it plans to extend its new multi-management offering outside the US in 2005.

“During 2005, Mercer plans to extend its funds-of-managers business to countries other than the US,” parent firm Marsh McLennan said in its annual report.

The business was launched in 2004 in the US and is now known as Mercer Global Investments, where it has around $309m in assets under management. Mercer says the revenue from what it calls the “discretionary investment management business” derives from the size of assets under management.

It uses “multiple third party investment managers selected by Mercer to invest client assets”. It said that from 2005, most client assets are expected to be invested in either investment companies sub-advised by multiple investment managers”.

It added that the division faces “significant” competition from “entrenched rivals with greater experience”.

MMC also disclosed that Mercer Investment Consulting has received a letter from the West Virginia Securities Commission seeking documents over services provided to the State of West Virginia and its Public Retirement System.

And it added that the US Department of Labor has served a subpoena on MMC seeking documents about payment for services provided to employee benefit plans.

In addition it has received a request for information from the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. about the funded status of the Marsh & McLennan Companies, Inc. Retirement

The firm said it is cooperating with the authorities.

Its benefit obligations of its US and main non-US pension plans exceeded the fair value of plan assets by $397m and $1.1bn respectively.