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Hewitt forms German joint venture

GERMANY – International consultancy Hewitt Associates is to form a joint venture with German actuarial and benefits consultancy Bode Grabner Beye.

Under the terms of a letter of intent, Bode Grabner Beye will merge with Hewitt's Retirement & Financial Management (RFM) operation in Germany to form a single company.

Final terms of the agreement are currently under negotiation and a final agreement is expected by March 2005, Hewitt said in a statement. A spokesman refused to confirm that the deal amounted to a takeover of Bode Grabner Beye. No other terms of the agreement have been released.

The new unit, to be called Bode Hewitt AG & Co.KG, will provide services to local and international companies in all areas of benefits, human resources and investment consulting as well as administration, from offices in Munich, Stuttgart and Wiesbaden, Hewitt said in a statement.

"Pensions have become a major strategic issue in the German market and the leading consulting organisations need to offer a complete actuarial and financial service offering strategy, design and administration,” said Piotr Bednarczuk, managing director of Hewitt Associates in Germany.

"Hewitt and Bode's capabilities are very complementary so I am certain that our new integrated HR offering and our shared commitment to excellent client service will be a highly attractive proposition for both current and potential clients."

Bode board member Christopher Bode said that the strengths of his firm –actuarial services – and those of Hewitt – human resource consulting – complemented each other perfectly.

“Thanks to Hewitt’s competence in consulting and outsourcing as well as its global presence, we are now in a position to offer our clients a full range of services,” Bode said.

Last year Bode told IPE that his firm was actively seeking an international partner following the dissolution of its 22-year-old joint venture with Watson Wyatt, Wyatt Bode Grabner.

That joint venture had provided actuarial and benefits consulting to both multi-national German companies and foreign companies with operations in Germany. But it collapsed when Watson Wyatt decided to go it alone in the German market and opened its own new office in Munich in late 2003.

At the time, Watson Wyatt said the move was a result of the big new pensions market created by government reforms. It also poached 11 staff from Wyatt Bode Grabner for its new office, including Susanne Jungblut, the joint venture's former managing director.

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