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Hewitt’s Fitzpatrick queries consultant relations

GLOBAL – Nick Fitzpatrick, head of global investment consulting at Hewitt Associates, says investment managers will regret putting effort into consultant relations at the expense of client relations.

“What has surprised me is the degree to which investment management firms put efforts into consultant relations rather than client relationships,” Fitzpatrick said.

“Their sales efforts would be better served talking directly to clients. After all, they are the clients – and we are not the investment manager’s sales force.”

He added: “The investment manager needs to get a firsthand understanding of their client’s needs. I think the fund managers will regret putting effort into consultant relations at the expense of client relations.”

Fitzpatrick’s comments come in interview with IPE that forms part of a special report on Europe’s investment consultants in the new issue of IPE magazine.

“Consultant relations do a good job feeding us with regular news updates and background data,” he said. “But in terms of how do we effect change, they are not at the right level.”

Fitzpatrick’s remarks are the latest to reveal stresses in the manager-consultant relationship. A survey by PricewaterhouseCoopers in October found that asset managers felt hindered by investment consultants. And back in June a joint report from KPMG and Create explored the tensions that exist between investment managers and pension consultants.

The February issue of IPE is out shortly and also features Irish managers, parliamentary pensions and a look at Philips.

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