GLOBAL - Mercer's investment consulting business has undergone a management shake up as it moves to takes advantage of growing demand for implemented consulting.
He revealed while its investment consulting business accounted for around 10% of revenues for the company, it was also the fastest growing area and Mercer was keen to capitalise on that growth.
He said: "Clearly it's a priority for Mercer and we are looking for ways to grow it even faster.
"We are looking at growing it organically by putting more resources to it but also selectively through acquisition if the opportunities present themselves."
De Cristo will be supported by a team of investment professionals including Andrew Kirton, previously leader of Mercer's European investment consulting business, who has been appointed president and global head of investment consulting.
The change comes as Tim Gardener, who led Mercer's investment consulting business for more than 20 years, assumes a new role as global chief investment strategist at Mercer.
De Cristo said: "While at the core we are a consulting company, we do want to extend the capability set of Mercer into the outsourcing business, where we have a total benefits outsourcing business that really leverages off our health and benefits and retirement consulting businesses, and on the investment side, to really leverage the movement in the market from consulting to more of an implemented consulting environment, but also off our retirement consulting base as it relates to our defined benefit pensions."
Paul Deane-Williams, head of public relations for investment, Watson Wyatt Worldwide, confirmed that the environment for consultants was changing and one of the main reasons was the growing awareness of the importance of governance, as it related to the expertise and resources required by a pension fund to make investment decisions.
He said: "As pension funds have realised this is important and they need to sort it out, and that is happening more and more often, they tend to simplify their investment strategy, thereby aligning it with their governance, or they are outsourcing some of their decision making to the likes of consultants, in what is being sometimes called implemented consulting or fiduciary management.
"The term we use is advanced investment solutions, and in taking that approach we take a far more active and engaged role which helps their decision making."
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