GERMANY - Sal. Oppenheim's asset management arm has recruited Wolfgang Leoni as its new head of equities and quantitative management, effective from last January 1, IPE has learned.

Leoni, 49, joins Oppenheim KAG after working for just over four months at Lupus alpha, an asset management boutique based in Frankfurt.

Lupus had hired Leoni on August 15 as chief investment officer for its absolute return products unit, whose offering includes hedge funds. Prior to that appointment, he was CIO at Deka Investment in Frankfurt, an asset manager for German Sparkassen, or state-owned savings banks.

Industry sources said that while Leoni had joined Oppenheim KAG's board, it was unclear whether he was the de-facto replacement for Bernd Borgmeier.

Borgmeier stepped down as CIO of Oppenheim KAG at the end of 2006. Since the start of the year, he has been in charge of asset management at M.M. Warburg, a private bank in Hamburg that is a peer to Cologne-based Sal. Oppenheim.

Oppenheim KAG's other head is Rupert Hengster. Hengster and Leoni report to Detlef Bierbaum, managing partner at Sal. Oppenheim with overall responsibility for asset management.

Oppenheim KAG is a major German institutional asset manager, running well above €20bn. Accounting for nearly 40% of that volume, pension funds are one of its crucial clients.

At last count, Lupus alpha had well over €5bn under management, more than half of which was with its absolute return products business.