SWEDEN -International consultants Hewitt Associates have formed a strategic alliance with Nordic advisers Wassum Investment Consulting, as part of its plans for global coverage.

Once clearances have been obtained, the operation, which commences this month, will operate in the region under the name ‘Hewitt Wassum’.

Nick Fitzpatrick of Bacon & Woodrow, which joined Hewitt last year, and heads the combined international investment practice, says of the Wassum deal “we expect to be active together in offering an international service to the larger firms in the region.”

The relationship will involve Wassum using the group’s research for the searches outside their domestic markets. “We hope that if things go well we will get closer.”

Wassum, which is headquartered in Stockholm and has offices in Bergen and Oslo and total staff of 35, has established itself as the major local adviser in Sweden in investment consulting terms.

Its managing director Mats Langensjo says the alliance brings “research capabilities and experience in investment services and strategic pensions management, which fits with Wassum’s growth and development plans”.

Hewitt has had a joint venture Hewitt Loeneanalyser in Stockholm since 1987, but this says Fitzpatrick is focused on compensation and benefit consultancy.

The current relationship with Wassum he describes as “seriously dating”. As to the final outcome whether it is in the form of a joint venture or some form of ownership is open. “No timescale has been set for a review of the relationship,” he says.

The link goes live this month with both sides “seriously exposing” the other to their client base. “We are very serious about pushing things forward together and not just waiting to see what happens.”

The question of the form of the future relationship will work will depend on how it can best achieve the longer term goals, including the motivation at the local level.

“Both parties wish to become more closely financially involved.” The agreement is exclusive and will exclude both sides from working with other consultants, unless by agreement, he adds.

“We are very impressed with what Wassum has achieved and we are delighted to be working with the group,” says Fizpatrick, while Langensjo adds: “we are very pleased to be able to secure and arrangement of this nature with a leading local firm like Hewitt.”

The Nordic market has developed very strongly and is now around the size of the Dutch market, says Fitzpatrick. “We can learn from them about the other markets that are opening up in Europe.” This he points out is the first step in building the global coverage Hewitt wants and it is looking to similar arrangements elsewhere.