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WestAM names new CEO amid institutional push

GERMANY - German institutional fund provider WestAM KAG has appointed a new chief executive and expanded its management board in a bid to invigorate its institutional business in Germany.

WestAM said Kevin Birch took over as CEO in mid-January.

In the two years before his appointment, the 57-year-old Birch had been head of Europe at WestLB Asset Management, the parent of WestAM.

Prior to that, Birch had been responsible for private banking at WestLB, Germany’s biggest state-owned Landesbank.

WestAM also said its management board had been expanded to five members in mid-January following the appointments of Christoph Dahm and Uwe Fuiten. Dahm, 40, is in charge of institutional sales, while Fuiten, 39, is responsible for investment management.

In Germany, WestAM manages €25bn in assets for institutional clients. Of that total, €10bn comes from Sparkassen, or state-owned savings banks. The Sparkassen are part-shareholders of WestLB. The other €15bn comes from such German clients as insurers, pension funds, companies, foundations and ecumenical organisations.

Birch told IPE that the new appointments were aimed at “equally boosting” WestAM’s business with the Sparkassen and other institutional clients.

As part of this effort, Birch said WestAM’s particular strengths included European bonds, whether high-yield or investment grade, emerging market bonds and shares as well as convertible bonds. He added that another emerging speciality of WestAM was in the area of funds that invested in asset-backed securities.

However, Birch declined to cite targets for WestAM’s future institutional business, noting that he had just taken over as CEO.

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