GERMANY - Bernd Borgmeier, co-head of Sal. Oppenheim's asset management arm, has stepped down to join rival M.M. Warburg.

Warburg said Borgmeier was joining it from January 1 as a managing partner in charge of asset management and private banking.

"We're delighted to have recruited Mr Borgmeier and we are certain that he will help expand our business," said Christian Olearius, managing partner and chief executive of M.M. Warburg.

Borgmeier is also chief investment officer at Oppenheim KAG. He will leave the private bank on October 31.

Meanwhile, IPE has also learned that Thomas Ebertz, director of asset management at Oppenheim KAG, is to leave at the end of the year. It was not immediately clear where he was going.

Oppenheim KAG's other head is Rupert Hengster, who joined in April 2004 from the asset manager of German Landesbank WestLB, where he was chief executive of its German operations.

Hengster and Borgmeier report to Detlef Bierbaum, managing partner at Sal. Oppenheim in charge of asset management.

Cologne-based Oppenheim KAG is known in the German institutional market as a specialist in fixed income and quantitative equity.

At the end of March, it had €19.6bn in assets under management, though this excludes those from its joint venture with Pramerica, the asset management arm of the US life insurer Prudential

German pension funds of all types are a crucial client of Oppenheim KAG's, making up nearly 40% of its institutional business.

In an interview with IPE last autumn, Hengster said pension funds, along with insurers, would continue to make up more than half of Oppenheim KAG's future institutional business.

Apart from its own asset management activities, Hamburg-based Warburg has a real estate fund venture with Henderson Global Investors. The venture provides property funds targeted to German institutional investors.