Money manager beauty parades in the United Kingdom might never be the same again.
Two former money managers have set up what is, in essence, an employment agency for former money managers willing to act as independent investment advisers to U.K. pension plans.
Now money managers pitching for U.K. pension business can expect to see one of their peers sitting across the table and asking the awkward questions.
"There are a frightening number of pension schemes that have no specialist experts as investment advisers, and there are a high number of trustee meetings where investment issues are not discussed," said Jo Welman, chairman of EPIC Investment Consulting, London, and a former managing director at Rea Brothers Investment Management. "We are offering a panel of individuals who have managed pension fund money at a senior level and are willing to provide investment expertise to trustees."
Chris Edge, EIC chief executive and former chief executive of Pavilion Asset Management, said EIC has a "gang of four" executives ready to go: Messrs Edge and Welman; Nick Broadhead, a former client director at Baring Asset Management, London; and Bill Horwood, a former partner at UBS/Phillips & Drew, London.
Messrs. Edge and Welman developed the concept in response to Paul Myner's review of the U.K. institutional investment industry, published almost two years ago.
The EIC program is not intended to usurp the role of the pension plans' existing actuaries and fund managers. "Our relationships with the Mercers and Watson Wyatts of this world will be positive and symbiotic," said Mr. Edge.
EIC is part of the EPIC Investment Partners Group, which has about £1.2 billion ($2 billion) in assets under management, £250 million of which is managed for pension plans and other institutional clients in Europe outside the United Kingdom.
EIP will not pitch for assets from U.K. pension plans, Mr. Welman said. "The U.K. is a highly competitive, low-margin market. It would also compromise our independence if we were pitching for U.K. asset management business as well."
Pension plans will pay an annual base fee of £12,000 a year for EIC advisers to attend trustee meetings and advise on investment issues. Fees may increase depending on the size and complexity of the plan, said Mr. Welman.
So far, EIC has pulled in two unnamed clients