Mercer Investment Consulting will create a new global head of alternatives research position as part of its acquisition of US consulting partnership Callan Associates.

Mercer announced last month plans to merge the investment consulting businesses of the two firms in late March, making Mercer the largest investment consultant in the

US. Tony Cole, business leader, Asia Pacific at Mercer Investment Consulting said the new post was likely to be filled by a Callan employee. Some of the Callan staff would be included in Mercer’s senior management structure, and there were no plans to change any of the regional heads of investment consulting, he added.

“Within the way our research group’s organised we are going through a process of reorganising our researchers and that recognises the increased focus we’ve had for the last year or so on alternatives research,” Cole said. “It will be quite a senior position – head of alternatives research globally – which is likely to be filled by somebody at Callan.”

Callan has no Australian superannuation fund clients, and does not have any employees based in

Australia.

Steven Vaughan was an Australian representative of Callan for several years until recently, when he left to form a new incubator business with Macquarie Bank called Queen Street Partners. The acquisition adds 170 employees to Mercer’s investment consulting stable, bringing the total number across the globe to 1100. Cole said there might be a “handful” of people that don’t fit the new organisation; however he did not anticipate many redundancies. “There may be a small number but this acquisition hasn’t taken place on the basis that we can take overheads out of it or find savings, it’s really been done on the basis that we needed to get scale,” he said.

He said the biggest advantage of the acquisition was the increased number of researchers within the new organisation.

“By combining in a very fragmented market it gives us a scale advantage that we haven’t had before,” he said. “With that scale we will be able to broaden and deepen our research capacity in the

United States, which of course is one of the powerhouses of investment globally – lots of managers, with lots of strategies, [and] lots of new ideas. The improvement is in enhancing our understanding of US managers and strategies that come out of the

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