Mercer on June 24 announced new appointments for several senior partners aimed at facilitating the momentum of the firm's investments and retirement businesses in Europe and in growth markets such as Latin America and Asia.
Jeff Schutes, based in Atlanta, was named leader of Mercer's investments business in the growth markets, comprising Asia, Latin America, the Middle East, Turkey and Africa. And Akhil Sethi, based in New York, was named leader of Mercer's retirement business for those markets.
Both roles are new. Mr. Schutes' prior role as global head of manager research and wealth management won't be filled; a replacement for Mr. Sethi's prior post as global chief operating officer will be named in the near future, said Charles Salmans, a New York-based spokesman for the firm.
In Europe, meanwhile, Tom Geraghty, the London-based head of Mercer's investments business in Europe, was named market leader and CEO of Mercer's business in Ireland, as well as the chairman of parent company Marsh & McLennan Cos. in that country. He replaces Paul O'Faherty, who is retiring after 30 years with Mercer.
Andrew Kirton, the firm's London-based global chief investment officer, succeeds Mr. Geraghty as head of Mercer's investment business in Europe. The global CIO position won't be filled, instead, asset-class-specific CIOs who worked under Mr. Kirton will report to other executives, said Mr. Salmans.
“We are adjusting our structure to support our growth,” Mr. Schutes said in a telephone interview, noting revenue for Mercer Investments, which includes the firm's consulting and discretionary management businesses, has tripled over the past five years.
While company officials declined to provide specific figures for that period, Mr. Salmans, in an e-mailed response to questions, noted the company's traditional advisory business has enjoyed “strong” growth, while Mercer's “fiduciary/discretionary business” has been growing at a “significantly faster” pace, reflecting the changing needs of clients.
The new investments roles announced June 24 are a sign of the opportunities Mercer sees to expand its business in those designated growth markets, said Mr. Schutes, adding “we believe we're doing very well in the U.S. and Europe,” but markets such as Asia and Latin America will “absolutely be a major part of our future as an organization.”
“We're a solutions firm,” and the spectrum of Mercer's services in those growth markets will run from providing software tools and research databases for institutional investors looking to manage their own portfolios, to advising investors on their portfolios, to providing discretionary oversight of their investments, he said. The firm also sees more potential for providing those services to wealth management pools and family offices, he said.
Asked if moves from global to regional roles for some of the firm's most senior executives pointed to a significant shift in Mercer's strategy, Mr. Schutes said key global roles will remain important, including a new, global director of research position.
An e-mailed response to questions forwarded by Mr. Salmans noted that Divyesh Hindocha, a London-based senior partner and global director of consulting with Mercer, will become global director of research, covering manager research, strategic research, capital markets, dynamic asset allocation and responsible investments. He will report to Phil de Cristo, president and group executive, investments.