GERMANY – Universal Investment, a leading administrator of institutional funds, has confirmed that Sven Hartmann, head of sales and client relationships, is leaving (Clarifies job titles).

Universal said he was leaving to "take up a new position with an institutional investor in Munich". A successor has not been named yet.

Hartmann reports to Markus Neubauer, managing director at Universal. Neubauer hired him in July 2004 to boost the firm’s institutional sales.

Prior to joining Universal at the age of 37, Hartmann was a director of institutional business at Meag KAG, the institutional fund provider tied to German re-insurance giant Munich Re.

Universal is a leading administrator of institutional funds, providing the service for 70% of the €51bn in assets entrusted to it. Universal also does some portfolio management for institutional clients, though these are strictly passive mandates.

A year ago, Universal decided to invigorate its mutual fund business with institutional clients by creating a new marketing subsidiary for the products called UVS. The funds are sold to insurers, banks, pension funds as well as other fund managers and brokers.

UVS aims to increase net inflows to the mutual funds to €1bn in the business year 2007/2008 from €370m in 2003/2004. At last count, the 89 mutual funds had €2.4bn in assets.

Universal’s shareholders are the private banks Merck Finck & Co, Bankhaus Lampe, Hauck & Aufhäuser, Berenberg as well as the private banking arm of Landesbank Baden-Württemberg.