Germany's FERI sets out to expand operations into
FERI Institutional Advisors (FIA), which is based in Bad Hamburg plans to break into the Swiss institutional market sometime in 2006, according to Arnd Thorn, who took over as FIA’s chief executive last August.
Thorn acknowledges that the market is challenging due to the predominance of local consultants like Complementa, PPC Metrics and Ecofin. But he says: “There is plenty of opportunity for us to expand our presence there.”
He does not give a precise timeframe for the move but says the firm would not, initially, set up an office. In 1999, Switzerland’s pension market alone had €257bn in assets.
Referring to German activities, Thorn, who joined FERI from the German arm of PIMCO, which is part of Allianz Global Investors, says FERI had not only replaced staff recently lost from its investment consulting team but had actually enlarged the team.
“It’s always unfortunate when a house loses good people, but we have more than made up for these losses and the fact is we didn’t lose a single institutional client,” he says.
He says FERI currently employs about 20 investment professionals. They advise institutional clients on asset classes, including alternatives like private equity, hedge funds, commodities and structured products.
FERI has continued to acquire new clients, including two German pension funds. The new clients are Versorgungswerke, pension funds that serve professional groups such as physicians, dentists and lawyers, which have €7bn in total assets.
“In other words, we have continued to defend our leadership in the German market,” Thorn says.
“If you add up all of our institutional clients, you will see that they represent between €250bn and €270bn in assets.”