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Mercer expands research into alternative investments

Mercer Investment Consulting is to expand its research to give clients access to in-depth analysis of a broader and more diverse range of alternative products.

Bill Muysken, Global Head of Research at Mercer Investment Consulting, said: "We have over 2,000 clients around the world with more than USD 2 trillion in assets in total.  The vast majority are telling us that they want to put more money into alternatives, and we expect this interest to continue to grow over time."

By expanding its alternatives research capability, Mercer intends to complement its broad coverage of traditional asset managers and reinforce its position as a leading investment consultant.

Areas in which Mercer intends to significantly expand its coverage include equity-based hedge funds, fixed income-based hedge funds, directly-invested private equity funds and multistrategy funds.  It is also applying the expertise it has gained from covering Australian infrastructure funds over the last decade to research the growing number of infrastructure funds being launched elsewhere in the world.  Mercer's research into currency funds, global macro funds, funds of hedge funds and private equity funds of funds is already well-established and highly regarded within the industry.  

Tim Gardener, Global Head of Mercer Investment Consulting, said: "Institutional investors worldwide are increasingly looking to diversify their sources of return and thereby reduce risk.  Opportunities for investors have grown over the last couple of years, as new boutiques have emerged and the type of products available has increased.  The challenge for investors is to distinguish the fundamentally sound from the merely fashionable.

"By devoting additional resources to our manager research capability, our aim is to give clients access to a broad and deep coverage of alternative strategies to enable them to manage their investments more effectively.

"The enhanced research into alternatives will complement our existing coverage of traditional, long-only investment products.  Clients will benefit from our ability to offer both a large and boutique manager research service."

Mercer is in the process of doubling the number of alternatives specialists in its research team from six at the start of this year to a projected 12 at year-end.  Four additions have already been made to the team, with two more to come.  In addition, Mercer's 30 dedicated equity and fixed income researchers are expanding their coverage of equity-based and fixed income-based hedge funds respectively.

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