FRANCE - Societe Generale Asset Management has ousted CDC Ixis as the top asset manager in France, according to a new survey.

SGAM was in pole position in a survey of more than 70 asset managers conducted by consultant Amadeis. The survey polled 60 investors and was conducted from December 2003 to January 2004.

Edmond de Rothschild AM, fourth in 2003, is runner–up this year. Credit Agricole AM, second last year, falls to third. CDC Ixis AM, first last year, falls to fourth.

But Amadeis co-founder Frederic Petiniot said he was not surprised by the showing of Credit Agricole and CDC Ixis, saying a fluctuation in the top five asset managers was not exceptional.

“Our list is not based on the performance of these managers,” he said. “It is rather subjective and therefore a variation, such as a change from number one or two to number four or five is not dramatic.”

The investors judged asset managers on eight criteria: euro fixed income, balanced, euro equities, global equities, alternative investments, marketing, reporting and innovation.

“If a company went from number one to twenty, then I would think something special was happening,” Petiniot added.

Amadeis said CDC Ixis and Credit Agricole were “still the most renowned for fixed income investments”.

Brussels-based Fortis, 16th in 2003, climbed to five this year. A spokesman said: “We are very happy with the result and I think it also proves that the recent changes of the commercial structure of the company start to pay off.” Fortis recently said it has been awarded a AA rating from ratings agency Fitch.

Merrill Lynch was the asset manager which gained the most ground in 2004, going from 52 to 26 – which Petiniot termed a “very good result” considering the firm is not currently running assets out its Paris office.

Amedeis was set up by former Frank Russell consultants Petiniot and Alexandre Lengereau in 2000.