GLOBAL - Watson Wyatt Worldwide has reported "robust demand" for investment strategy and fund manager selection services amid an 18% increase in revenues at its investment consulting group.

The consulting firm said investment consulting group revenues (6% of its total revenues) rose to $21.7m in the fourth quarter from comparable revenues of $18.4m a year before.

"Revenues increased during the quarter due to robust demand for our services, particularly investment strategy and fund manager selection services, by both new and existing clients," the company stated in its fourth-quarter earnings report.

For the year, the division's revenues were up 13% to $74.4m.

The figures reflect the combined US-based Watson Wyatt & Co. and Europe's Watson Wyatt LLP, which merged just over a year ago.

The firm posted total revenues of $347.1m in the quarter, while income from continuing operations was $25.7m.

"Watson Wyatt once again posted very strong results, capping an impressive fiscal year for the firm," said John Haley, president and chief executive. "As we celebrate our one-year anniversary as a combined firm, our growth and financial results have been outstanding.

"All segments generated revenue growth in the fiscal year, with double-digit increases in Insurance and Financial Services, Investment Consulting, and Technology and Administration Solutions."

Haley added "demand should remain robust, as various regulatory and accounting changes take shape".

Meanwhile, rival Mercer Human Resource Consulting said it has hired former Watson executive Alan Whalley (see separate story).