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Ex-Watson’s van Aalst sets up own consultancy

NETHERLANDS – The former head of Watson Wyatt’s Dutch investment practice, Paul van Aalst, is setting up a new consulting firm called Strategeon Investment Consultancy.

Van Aalst left Watson Wyatt Brans in the summer and was replaced by Gerard Roelofs of Deutsche Asset Management.

Van Aalst, 38, said the operation will start small and initially just focus on the Netherlands. Early next year two other consultants will join him, one from a consulting firm and one from an asset manager, though he declined to name them.

“The plan is to grow a bit bigger,” he said. “The industry is still growing.” He said he left Watson Wyatt for private reasons.

He wants Strategeon to be a “small, flexible company”, saying clients are tired of large, expensive consultants. The company will target pension funds and insurers - the firm already has one client lined up, a 1.5 billion-euro pension fund.

Van Aalst has an academic background in asset liability modelling and he said Strategeon is thinking about creating its own ALM model. “That’s an investment we will make in the following months.” He said there is no added value in a huge new ALM model, though there is a market for a small ALM model to give quick insights.

Strategeon will also provide second opinions on ALM studies as well as perform manager searches. In the longer term, the firm would seek geographic expansion. “We will look outside the country, but not in the next year. We will focus on the Netherlands in the next year.”

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