EUROPE - New York-based fund manager SECOR Asset Management is opening a new office in London to provide advisory services to European pension funds.

SECOR was founded in August 2010 by Tony Kao, former chief investment officer at General Motors Asset Management, and Raymond Iwanowski, former co-head of the quantitative investment strategies group at Goldman Sachs Asset Management.

SECOR sees a "strong pipeline" of opportunities in the UK and the Netherlands, two of Europe's largest pensions markets.

The company - which already has $7.5bn (€5.5bn) of European pension assets under advisement and advises schemes across seven European countries - will focus on designing and implementing policies and strategies to help pension funds in their day-to-day management tasks.

Kao told IPE: "There is a strong demand from clients to help them manage risk and add value, especially due to the financial difficulties experienced over the last four years.

"It has been particularly difficult to manage a pension scheme in the last decade due to market volatility and new regulations coming into the scene."

The SECOR team currently comprises 27 people altogether, four being based in the London office, which will be led by Jeroen Wilbrink and Thierry Bollier, both partners of the firm.

Wilbrink - who joined in July from F&C Asset Management, where he was responsible for European liability-driven investing and fiduciary management product and market development - will oversee SECOR's European advisory and portfolio solutions business.

Bollier, who also joined earlier this year, will focus on risk management and research, as well as the development of SECOR's alpha strategies and portfolio solutions businesses. Before joining, he was founding partner, chief executive and senior consultant at Bollier-Hipes Research.

SECOR said it was not seeking to become a large asset management firm, but remain a small boutique.

The UK Financial Services Authority approved its London office last month.