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Watson Wyatt boosts real estate and hedge fund teams

Investment consultant Watson Wyatt has made two hires to boost its research into real estate investment managers and hedge fund managers, and added five new graduates to its manager research team.

Douglas Crawshaw, who has more than 10 years' investment experience, most recently as a portfolio manager at Morley Fund Management, will join a real estate team of six in the UK, headed by Steven Grahame, which focuses on researching real estate investment managers. Crawshaw is a senior investment consultant and is based in London.

'Finding genuine investment management skill in the area of real estate requires more time and resource than before, while at the same time demand from investors for these skills is increasing,' says Paul Trickett, European head of investment consulting at Watson Wyatt. 'As a result we are growing this team to meet this demand and welcome Douglas into this dynamic environment.'

In 2006, UK pension funds advised by Watson Wyatt Investment Consulting awarded around 60 per cent more real estate mandates than the previous year, with a significant shift away from UK property which only accounted for 44 per cent of mandates, down from 93 per cent in 2005.

Watson Wyatt has also appointed David Gold, who was previously a senior associate at Morgan Stanley Investment Management, as a manager research consultant based in New York who will research hedge fund managers.

In addition, the firm has hired five new graduates into the manager research team, which now comprises over 95 associates and is headed globally by Craig Baker. The team conducts around 2,500 formal research meetings a year with investment managers and now includes more than 50 dedicated full-time manager researchers.

Watson Wyatt Investment Consulting, a division of Watson Wyatt, is focused on creating financial value for institutional investors through independent and co-ordinated investment strategy advice based on expertise in risk assessment, strategic asset allocation, and investment manager selection.

Watson Wyatt Investment Consulting provides investment advice to some of the world's largest pension funds and institutional investors, and has more than 410 associates in Europe, the Americas and Asia. Watson Wyatt, a consulting firm specialising in employee benefits, investment consulting, human capital strategies, technology solutions and insurance and financial services, has 6,700 associates in 31 countries.

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