Hewitt Breaks into French Market

Article excerpt

Byline: Ben Wright

Hewitt Bacon & Woodrow, the investment consultancy firm, has broken into the French market with the purchase of Finance Arbitrage for an undisclosed sum.Hewitt Bacon & Woodrow has been expanding recently through acquisition. Finance Arbitrage, a pure investment advisory house, and Fixage control a large portion of the French market.

French institutional investors have tended to outsource portfolios to investment managers without consulting intermediaries. They have also favoured balanced, as opposed to specialist, mandates, again cutting down the amount of work available to investment consultants.

But the relatively poor performance of the balanced players has led to a surge in specialist mandates and in turn created an opportunity to foreign advisory firms.

Commenting on the acquisition, Nick Fitzpatrick, global head of investment consultancy at Hewitt Bacon & Woodrow, says: "The investment advisory business in France is at a very embryonic stage and we are very excited to be getting into the region."

Fitzpatrick will be keen to advise on deals such as the decision in May by Electricite de France, the state-owned utility, to appoint specialist managers to a E2bn ($2bn) fund that will be used to pay for the future decommissioning of nuclear power stations.

Areva, the French nuclear power specialist, La Commission de L'Energie Atomique and Framatome, which build nuclear power plants, are all thought to be following suit later this year.

Last year, Aventis, the pharmaceutical group, shuffled its benefits scheme and employed five complementary specialist managers. …