UK – Morley Fund Management has won two billion pounds (2.9 billion euros) of new external mandates this year so far – up one billion pounds on the same period last year.

Today saw the release of the first half results for Morley’s parent company, Aviva. Aviva’s entire fund management business produced an operating profit of 10 million pounds. Morley contributed an operating profit of six million pounds to the total, in line with profits generated for the same period last year.

The profit was attributed to a “disciplined approach of sizing costs to fee revenue set at the lowest point of the market.” Morley won around two billion pounds of new external mandates during the first half of this year compared – double the amount won in the first six months of 2002. In the second half of last year, Morley won between eight and nine billion pound of new mandates.

The majority of new mandates won were in the fixed income sector, said a spokeswoman at the fund manager. Morley was also appointed to run a 90 million pound property mandate. Morley is currently looking at adding fund managers and analysts to its fixed income and property teams.

Morley also announced this week the launch of its first fund of hedge funds. Benchmark Plus, a US-based manager have agreed that Morley be its exclusive distributor of sub-fund , Alpha Optimum, in Europe. The product will be available to private and institutional investors in Europe.

“We’d seen specific client demand out of Europe for this product, and have been considering offering a fund of hedge funds for some time. Being our first in this area, it made sense to employ a specialist as the underlying manager,” said the spokeswoman.

As of the end of March 2003, Morley Fund Management had 104 billion pounds (148 billion euros) in assets under management.