Investment Manager Searches Take on Fixed Income Bent

September 17, 2009 ( - Mercer said it advised clients on 65 investment manager searches in the U.S. during the first half of 2009, compared to 61 a year earlier.

class=”NormalIndent1″> According to a news release, assets placed also showed a modest increase from $7.3 billion last year to $7.8 billion this year. The most notable shift in activity was a significant increase in fixed income mandates and a decrease in equity-related activity, a reversal from 2008.

class=”NormalIndent1″> Fixed income searches in the first half of 2009 totaled 26 versus 11 during the same period in 2008, while assets placed rose from $1.1 billion to $4.7 billion. Activity was strong in core investment grade, core opportunistic, credit and long-duration mandates, the news release said.

Within U.S. equity, search activity declined significantly from 29 searches during the first half of 2008 to 17 during the first half of 2009. Large cap mandates showed the greatest decline while small cap style mandates (growth and value) had modest activity.

International equity (including all global, EAFE and other global ex domestic) remained essentially flat in terms of the number of Mercer-conducted searches but showed a significant rise in assets placed. Emerging markets showed a slight decline from the first half of 2008.

Mercer also said searches in alternative asset classes were “muted” during the first half of 2009 as sponsors focused on realigning their risk management policies. The real estate asset class showed a slight rise versus the first half of last year, while searches in hedge funds and private equity declined.