EUROPE – Multimanager specialist Russell Investment Group says it has hired staff from ING Investment Management and Watson Wyatt amid growth in Benelux and the Nordic countries.

It named Michiel Faber and Henk Radder as directors in its Amsterdam office, from ING and Watsons respectively.

It said it gained 10 new mandates and €1.5bn in 2005, with clients including Stichting Pensioenfonds ING, Xerox Pensioenfondsen and Stichting Pensioenfonds TNO in the Netherlands, Etera in Finland, Kapan in Sweden, Gjensidige in Norway and PensionDanmark in Denmark.

The office manages more than €5bn in assets for more than 30 clients across the Benelux and Nordic regions.

“As the multimanager approach continues to gain momentum, the extensive experience of Michiel and Henk will further enhance our client service team and support the roll-out of our exciting new product range,” said Johan Cras, managing director of Russell's Amsterdam office.

“These new funds are designed to give our clients even greater flexibility to tailor solutions to their specific investment needs and include a suite of absolute return funds as well as active currency management, real estate and alpha-porting strategies.”

Meanwhile, Russell in Washington said its client base for overlay services more than doubled in 2005, from $100bn to $250bn.

It said: “Synthetic exposure across these clients now exceeds $14bn.”

"Russell has been an innovator in customized total-fund overlays that combine multiple strategies in one efficient, powerful and highly integrated package," said Michael Thomas, director of overlay services at Russell. "More fund fiduciaries are considering Russell's.”