Saker Nusseibeh, the man at the helm of Hermes Fund Managers Ltd., is preparing to take another crack at the U.S. money management market.
He is acutely aware of the dangers of a non-U.S. manager trying to break into the U.S, but says, “At some stage we have to be there — it is a major market.”
“Success in the U.S. for U.K.-based houses is usually based on a single product — those who attempted to enter the market with multiple products tended to fail. You have to understand the market.”
Mr. Nusseibeh, London-based CEO and head of investment, and his team of executives are talking to potential clients, competitors and distributors to get a feel for the market and a re-entry point. “It has been the graveyard of many U.K. fund managers that have tried to get into the States. We are rethinking how to do it now.”
As for the how and when this new attempt will take shape, it is too early to tell, a spokeswoman said.
But it will be a second coming for Hermes — which runs £26.9 billion ($44.8 billion) of assets as an active money manager — after its first U.S. boutique, Hermes Global Equities Advisors in Boston, closed this past April. In 2009, then-CEO Rupert Clarke told Pensions & Investments about plans for the boutique, seeded with $500 million from the £40 billion London-based BT Pension Scheme, the money manager's biggest client and its owner.
Hermes is focusing its large-cap global equity capabilities out of London, the spokeswoman said. The firm still has an office in New York with eight investment professionals, she said.
The boutique was formed from the liftout of a six-strong global equity team from Fortis Investments in Boston and was touted as part of a strategy to attract U.S. institutional clients. The team was led by Lode Devlaminck, chief investment officer for global equities, and John Chisholm, director of marketing and client services for global equities.
After about four years of trying, one source familiar with the situation said results were “mediocre,” and the team did not seem to be attracting the client and consultant support it needed.
The team leaders have since moved on. Mr. Chisholm joined Schroders PLC in the U.S., said a spokeswoman for Schroders. His role and Mr. Devlaminck's next step could not be learned by press time.