Aberdeen silent on Leser as head of new German office

GERMANY - Aberdeen Asset Management is entering Germany's institutional market and is understood to have recruited Hartmut Leser, a former managing director at German investment consultant FERI, to head its new office in Frankfurt, IPE has learned.

An Aberdeen spokesman declined to comment. "We have scheduled a press conference next week in Frankfurt where we will be making an announcement. It would be wrong of me to comment before then," the spokesman told IPE from London.

Leser quit FERI last September after ten years. During his tenure, Leser was instrumental in building FERI's institutional consulting business and also co-headed that business.

With €305bn in institutional assets under advisement, three-fourths of which are from pension funds, FERI is Germany's market leader based on this measure.

In the three months after his departure, well-placed industry sources in Frankfurt had told IPE repeatedly that Leser planned to open a new office for a foreign asset manager.

Last night, these sources, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, told IPE that Leser had been recruited by Aberdeen to head its new office in Frankfurt.

Contacted by IPE, Leser himself was not immediately available for comment.

UK-based Aberdeen, with £73.2bn (€111bn) in assets under management globally, is the latest foreign asset manager seeking to break into Germany's institutional market.

Others that have opened an office in Germany to chase institutional business since late 2005 include ING Investment Management, Principal Global Investors, BlackRock from the US, France's Crédit Agricole Asset Management and Belgium's Dexia Asset Management.

A key reason for the arrival of these foreign asset managers is the current boom in corporate pensions. That boom is being driven by an increasing willingness in corporate Germany to set up external funds to finance pension liabilities.

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