Equity fund manager hiring bucks the fixed income trend

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According to the website GlobalMoneyManagement.com, Bedlam Asset Management, a UK-based boutique is on the look out for an equity fund manager. Headhunters say it is not the only one.

"Demand is particularly strong right now for European and UK equity managers," says Rebecca Austin, co-head of the asset management practice at financial services search firm Principal Search. "There has been increased pressure to upgrade the quality of managers over the last year or 18 months," she adds.

The pursuit of equities specialists coincides with the publication of two studies underlining the unpopularity of equity products. The CAPS Pooled Pension Fund Update from Mellon Analytical found UK fund's equity allocation reached a year-end low of 48.7% in 2005, while Institutional Investor reports a study from Greenwich Associates, which found European institutional investors snubbed equity products last year and increased their investment in fixed income assets by 23%. Greenwich says pay for fixed income managers rose 11% in the process.

However, Austin says headline shifts into fixed income assets conceal the popularity of specialist equity funds, with for example a UK or European equities focus. "Rather than pursuing a balanced mandate with a little bit of fixed income, a little bit of UK equities, and a little bit of US equities, investors are increasingly issuing specialist equities mandates," she says. "This results in there being a strong demand for managers who can generate alpha for specialist mandates."

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