Liverpool Victoria AM set for UK institutional push

Mon Oct 25, 2010 5:10am EDT

* Managing director touts 'back to basics' approach

* Aims to grow AuM to 25 billion pounds over 10 years

* Keeps watchful eye on fund acquisitions

By Raji Menon

LONDON, Oct 25 (Reuters) - Liverpool Victoria Asset Management (LVAM), the fund arm of the mutual insurer, is planning a major push into the UK institutional market next year as it seeks to establish itself as a traditional UK fund firm.

LVAM Managing Director Ann Roughead said the firm was betting on its credentials as a solid "no frills" investment house to win over disenchanted investors burnt by sophisticated investment products during the recent market crash.

Over a period of ten years, Roughead intends to more than treble total assets under management (AuM) to 25 billion pounds ($39.24 billion).

She told Reuters: "Our proposition is that investment is not sexy. We don't believe in coming up with a new product idea every week -- our approach is the old fashioned, plain vanilla way of doing things. Getting the basics right.

"Next year will be our big push into the wider UK institutional market," she said.

Roughead was hired in 2007 to launch Liverpool Victoria's asset management business to third parties. She joined from Citigroup (C.N) where she was chief operating officer for Citigroup Private Bank, and head of wealth advisory for Citi's wealth management business Smith Barney.

Broadly the firm offers equities, bonds and commercial property, managed by an in-house team. Last year, the firm hired Graham Ashby from Credit Suisse CRP.N to head UK equities. Overall staff numbers have increased from 27 in 2007 to 70.

"When we came to the market in 2009, it was probably the worst time for an asset manager to launch a business," Roughead said.

"But while our competitors worried about their products and were focused internally, we were able to go out, and get meetings with people that we would never have got in normal circumstances."

In 2008, the firm managed some 6.7 billion pounds ($10.52 billion) in assets all run on behalf of its parent. AuM have grown to nearly 8 billion pounds, with third party retail assets now comprising 6.3 per cent of total assets.

"We have a business model that could handle around 25 billion pounds. We are always on the lookout to acquire more assets -- we believe there will be more people looking to exit their uneconomical assets both in the retail, and in the institutional space within the next 12 months." ($1=.6371 Pound) (Editing by Sinead Cruise and Sharon Lindores)

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