UK - WestAM, the asset management arm of German bank WestLB, has brought in a former director at MM Asset Management in the UK to lead its foray into the multi-management fund business.

WestAM said it has hired Alan Bartlett from MM, the multi-manager fund division owned by Threadneedle, where he was director of research. He will be chief investment officer of the new unit.

The unit would "be integrated with the substantial resources of the group, which manages in excess of $80bn, and it will leverage the bank's impressive distribution capabilities across Europe", a statement said.

"Multi-manager is a strong concept, and it fits very well strategically with the bank's commitment to delivering best in class products for our asset management clients," said WestAM chief executive Luke Nunneley.

"We believe there is substantial scope for a major domestic European player in the multi-manager market to emerge."

WestAM, which has €67.1bn in assets under management worldwide, has traditionally specialised in US and European fixed income products, which account for 53% of its total portfolio.

Insurance companies also are WestAM’s single biggest client, accounting for 18.4% of the €67.1bn in assets. They are followed by savings banks (16.5%) and pension funds (10.3%)

By entering the multi-manager funds business, WestAM is set to compete with well-established US players like SEI, Russell Investment Group and Northern Trust, all of whom have accumulated hundreds of billions of euros with their multi-manager funds.