EUROPE - Resolution Asset Management is rebranding as Ignis Asset Management and has plans to widen its appeal to European pension funds by harnessing the talents of its former Dutch pension fund experts at sister company Axial Investment Management.

Officials at the Glasgow-based asset manager have just announced they are rebranding the recently-merged Resolution Asset Management as Ignis - which is Latin for fire, burn or spark - from November, while Axial Investment Management - the division currently charged with managing the life assurance funds of Pearl Group - will continue to carry its own brand and operate as a separate company.

Pranay Gupta, head of quantitative strategies and Erna Bogaard, head of fundamental strategies at Axial Investment Management, both followed their former colleague Jan Straatman to the firm from ABP, the industry-wide Dutch pension fund, in 2007, and have spent their time applying the asset-liability management (ALM) skills learned at ABP to Pearl's vast life insurance funds.

Those lessons are now being developed for the benefit of pensions funds, according to Jonathan Polin, sales and marketing director at Resolution, as the firm is looking to extend its focus on occupational pension funds and push beyond its current UK presence.

Axial will "continue to focus on its best in class asset liability management capabilities" according to officials, but will use its ALM and fund of hedge funds skills at Ignis to help develop new products and services which will eventually be offered to pension funds outside the UK.

Resolution already has a presence in the UK pensions market and, in particular, has a pooled liability-driven investment fund which give smaller pension funds access to both interest rate and inflation risk hedging.

More importantly, the Ignis group is planning to looking to build a presence in the European and Asian pensions market by extending its fixed income, equity, fund of hedge fund and LDI offerings, though Polin acknowledged it has yet to win its first European pensions mandate.

The Ignis name will be the umbrella brand for the group's fund management operation but under the terms of that rebranding, Resolution's joint venture boutique operations will continue to retain their brands as Argonaut, Cartesian, Hexam and Maia.

Resolution Asset Management merged with Pearl Group earlier this year to create a £75bn asset management business, but prior to this had been in discussions to merge with UK life assurer Standard Life.

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