GERMANY - Frank Richter, director of institutional sales for Germany and Austria at Merrill Lynch Investment Managers, is to join AXA Investment Managers.

MLIM confirmed that Richter was resigning after nine years at the firm to take on a similar role at AXA from June 1. AXA declined to comment.

MLIM said it expected to find a replacement for Richter, 39, by October 1 at the latest. In Frankfurt, MLIM employs an eight-member sales staff concerned with retail and institutional clients in Germany and Austria.

Achim Küssner, head of Germany and Austria for MLIM, said: “After nine years with us, Mr Richter was looking for a new challenge. We thank him for his time with us and wish him the very best for the future.”

Küssner also said that amid growing business in Germany and Austria, MLIM would be looking to hire another member for its sales staff beyond the replacement for Richter.

“The institutional business is going so well that in the first quarter, we already met our quota for the entire year,” he told IPE.

MLIM currently has $3bn in assets under management for German and Austrian institutional clients, including pension funds, banks, insurers and companies.

Küssner added that MLIM’s robust business was being driven in particular by mandates for US equities, global high yield bonds and preferred securities.