GERMANY - Markus Rieß is stepping down as chief executive of Allianz Global Investors' (AGI) German arm.

AGI said Rieß would leave on February 1 to join the parent group insurance giant Allianz in Munich as its new sales head for Germany. Rieß will replace Hansjörg Cramer who is retiring.

At  AGI's German operation Rieß will be succeeded by Horst Eich (47) and Thomas Wiesemann (40), who will co-head the business.

Rieß will also step down as chairman of German fund industry association BVI, but will be presiding over the organisation's annual news conference next week in Frankfurt.
AGI's German unit employs 1,400 and has €175.2bn under management from the domestic market, €82.1bn of which is in institutional Spezialfonds.

Having joined AGI's German unit in 1997, Rieß was made head in 2001 of the dit retail fund business, which came to the group with the acquisition of Dresdner Bank.

Last October, it was announced that the dit  business and dbi, the German institutional operation, was merged with Allianz Global Investors and that he was the head of the new entity.

Rieß' departure from AGI's German unit follows a difficult year for the asset manager's retail fund business. According to statistics from the BVI, inflows to AGI's retail funds totalled just €163m between January and November 2006.

By comparison, inflows to many of AGI's rivals in Germany were much higher. During the 11-month period, Deka took in €1bn, Union Investment €1.4bn, Deutsche Bank's DWS €8.8bn and Pioneer (formerly Activest) €2.2bn.

Commerzbank's Cominvest, however, posted net outflows of €1.8bn between January and November 2006.

On the institutional side, AGI's German unit said last October that between January and September 2006, its Spezialfonds had €5.6bn in net inflows.