UK - Asset manager Principal Global Investors has appointed Stephen Holt as head of UK institutional sales, the company has announced.

The firm said Holt's appointment to the new role was the first in the firm's attempts to concentrate solely on the UK market.

Holt, a former UK business development director at Barclays Global Investors, joins from Santander Asset Management, where he was head of UK distribution.

Grant Forster, the company's head of international offices, said Holt's appointment comes amid "exciting times" as the company is looking to bring to UK-based institutional investors' attention the firm's range of equity, bond and currency management, and its real estate capabilities.

It was Holt's task to "deepen relationships with investment consultants and a wide range of corporate and local government pension funds," Foster added.

Principal manages nearly $167bn in assets, primarily for retirement plans and other institutional clients. In the first half of 2006, the company won mandates of over $1.5bn, though it prefers to keep its clients anonymous.