Jean Keller has been appointed CEO of 3A - Alternative Asset advisors, the alternative investment division of Swiss banking group SYZ & Co.
Keller, 40, has substantial experience in institutional asset management, which is increasingly turning its attention towards alternative investments and absolute returns. Formerly CEO of Lombard Odier Darier Hentsch Asset Management Ltd in London, he co-headed the group's institutional asset management business.
Keller first joined Lombard Odier back in 1994 managing and marketing investment funds and institutional products, first in Geneva, then London and New York, where he headed the office from 1999 to 2002.
"At a time when institutional investors are the driving force for future growth in alternative investments, Jean Keller's significant expertise in the marketing of institutional products across major international markets will be a real added value in promoting our range of alternative asset products in Europe", said Alfredo Piacentini, partner of SYZ & Co.
Keller, who started his career with Baring Asset Management in London and Hong Kong as a research analyst and portfolio manager, will take up his new role with 3A from 1 February, replacing Tony Morrongielio, who headed the group for four years but is leaving to launch his own start-up company. In addition to a degree from the Graduate Institute of International Studies in Geneva, Keller also holds an MBA in Finance from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania.
"The major under-funding of estimated future benefit obligations that many pension funds encountered after 2000 has led to an increase in the number of European pension funds reviewing their asset liability structure," said Keller. "They are now paying increased attention to investment objectives expressed in absolute terms and giving priority to a steady growth of their portfolios and a lower correlation with indices when markets are falling. With its advanced expertise in the alternative investment sector and a 10-year proven track-record, I believe that 3A is ideally placed to answer these new demands".
3A - Alternative Asset Advisors builds tailor-made multi-manager portfolios, funds of hedge funds and structured products. 3A manages a number of alternative products available to institutional investors, such as ALTIN, the London and Swiss-listed fund of hedge funds. 3A also manages the USD 365 million Luxembourg-based umbrella Sicav Alternative Capital Enhancement, among others.
In total, 3A manages USD 1.6 billion in alternative investments. 3A recorded growth in assets under management of +20% in 2004. At the end of November 2004, 3A announced a strengthening of its institutional marketing capacity in German-speaking countries, Scandinavia, Central Europe and the Benelux.