William M. Mercers global investment consulting practice conducted a record 800 investment manager searches last year, up 4% from 1999. The total assets placed as a result of the searches was $61.5 billion, up 18% from 1999. Fifty-four percent of the searches for 2000 were in Europe; 34%, North and South America, and 12%, Asia. In the United States, large-cap value equity was the most popular asset class, accounting for 39 searches and just more than $2 billion in assets placed. International equity was the second most popular asset class in most countries, making it the most popular product category across Mercers worldwide client base, accounting for about 15% of the total number of searches last year.
"We believe that this represents the highest volume of manager searches ever advised on by an investment consultancy in any one year, said Bill Muysken, head of global manager research at Mercer.