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Rating:Mercer Gets into the Investment Biz Not Rated 5.0 Email Routing List Email & Route  Print Print
Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Mercer Gets into the Investment Biz

Reported by Theresa Sim

Mercer HR Consulting's new unit is beginning to take shape. On Tuesday, Mercer officials named another executive at its multi-manager Mercer Global Investments unit, as well as outlined plans for the new division.

Ravi Venkataranman will assume the role of chief investment officer. He reports to Barry McInerney, who previously headed Mercer Investment Consulting (MIC). McInerney was named head of the U.S. operations of MGI in February.

MGI's U.S. operations will be based out of Norwood, Massachusetts, with professionals also working out of Chicago and New York. MGI's other offices are in Melbourne and Sydney.

"Mercer is already a major player in the multi-manager arena thanks to the resounding success of our Australian Master Trust business ... plans [are] well under way for expansion into the UK, Ireland and Continental Europe, Japan, and Canada, we expect this to be an important growth business for us," stated Brian Storms, head of Mercer HR Consulting.

MGI plans to build off of the work of MIC to create multi-manager products for the retirement market, and eventually expand to offer the products to the retail market, says McInerney.

"The intention is to provide the multi-manager platform in both investment-only ... [and] integrated bundled solutions" in a standalone defined benefit, defined contribution, or bundled DB-DC products, says McInerney.

MGI has already hired two dedicated salespeople for its products, and intends to partner with other Mercer units to distribute the multi-manager products. Yet when questioned about potential conflicts of interest between Mercer's investment consulting and investment management business, McInerney stresses that both units will remain separate entities with separate corporate structures. Managers constructing the MGI Funds and portfolios will remain within MGI, utilizing research work from MIC.

Currently, MGI is already offering a multi-manager product for defined benefit plans and endowments in the U.S.; the firm will be launching its defined contribution product in a few months.

A full complement of investment staff is already in place, although MGI plans to continue hiring across all operational areas, including sales, client services, operations and investments, says McInerney.  

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