AUSTRIA – Lupus alpha, a Frankfurt-based asset management boutique, has opened a new sales office in Vienna as part of a push into the Austrian institutional market.

Lupus alpha said it had hired Gerfried Krifka, an asset manager who worked at Erste Bank KAG and Volksbanken KAG in Vienna, to run its new office. Krifka will seek to win business from insurers, pension funds, banks and other asset managers in Austria.

“For us, Austria is an attractive and innovative market which is very open to foreign asset managers. To expand our business there, we need to be present on the ground,” remarked Christoph Braun, a partner at Lupus alpha responsible for relationship management.

Lupus alpha also said five of its mutual funds had been approved for sale in Austria by the regulator.

Since its launch in late 2000, Lupus alpha, a specialist in small- and mid-cap funds as well as hedge funds, has taken in €5bn in institutional assets. This money is invested in seven mutual funds and 54 German institutional funds (Spezialfonds).

Beyond Austria, Lupus alpha said it would soon expand its business in Switzerland, the Netherlands, Denmark and Scandinavia. “In these countries we will speak to clients either directly or make contact via consultants,” Braun said, adding that the asset manager already had a network of European consultants.

By 2010, Lupus alpha aims to run €10bn in institutional assets, €3bn of which are to come from international investors. It also wants to almost double its workforce to 100 by then from 55 now.

Separately, Universal-Investment, a leading institutional fund administrator, said it had €60bn in assets under administration on February 28 2006, or €10bn more than January 31 2005.

Universal said that of the €10bn in additional assets for the 13-month period, €3.5bn were net inflows.

Said Bernd Wagner, chief executive of Universal: “The net inflows in the last 13 months were not on the level of the past few years. Nonetheless, institutional investors still appreciate the fact that we are an independent specialists for all services related to fund administration, including the creation of master funds.”

Master funds, which are Universal’s speciality, consolidate back-office administration of institutional funds – for example, reporting – to reduce costs and boost transparency for the investor.