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Moreau's gang: Asset management's new FEAM

Does the financial world really need another trade group?

Does the financial world really need another trade group? Absolutely, say the enthusiastic members of the newest crew, the Forum of European Asset Managers, which aims to promote the benefits of a single market for asset management services in Europe. Most groups, like the U.K.'s Investment Management Association, are national bodies pursuing purely domestic agendas. Chaired by Nicolas Moreau, chief executive of AXA Investment Managers, the new forum consists of 14 firms whose total assets exceed $9 trillion. Its most pressing goal is to push forward the on again, off again progress of the European single market in financial services. "It is clear we are still a long way from a true single market for selling funds cross-border in Europe," says Moreau. "That hands a huge competitive edge to U.S. firms that have a single market and can benefit from true economies of scale."

The forum held its first management committee meeting last month in Paris and plans to convene quarterly. A committee headed by John Ingamells, Fidelity International's head of public affairs, will measure how much progress is being made toward a single market. FEAM has established a working group to respond to the European Commission's forthcoming green paper on asset management. Moreau says that because FEAM represents some of the biggest fund managers -- other members include Allianz Global Investors, Capital International and UBS Global Asset Management -- it will be an effective lobbying body and not merely a debating society.

"No one is doing this because they like being on committees," he says. "We are small and focused with a clear agenda. I think it helps that we are all practitioners. MEPs [members of the European Parliament], the Commission and regulators are happier talking to real practitioners than to lobbyists. It gives us credibility."