Mercer and Hammond Associates have started off 2011 under one roof.

In October, Mercer announced that it would no longer provide investment consulting advisory services to public sector defined benefit pension plans in the U.S.

And a month later, the global consulting, outsourcing and investment services firm announced that it had plans to acquire St. Louis-based Hammond Associates.

At the time, Mercer explained that the amalgamation would create a “new leader in investment consulting for endowments, foundations and the private wealth and health care markets,” the Nov. 24 statement said.

While the terms of the agreement were not disclosed, Jeff Schutes, Mercer’s U.S. investment consultant leader, said previously that the 25-year-old firm has recently moved to invest in hedge fund and alternatives research capabilities, which prove to complement “the investment Mercer has made in this area.”

Today, Schutes added that the “acquisition underscores Mercer’s commitment to our investment business and [its] determination to increase our U.S. market share.” According to the agreement, the nation’s third largest investment consulting firm focused on endowments and foundations will link up with Mercer’s global reach and expertise.

Now that Hammond Associates is part of its arsenal, Mercer said in the Jan. 3 press release that it will be able to benefit from the “one of the fastest growing segments of investment consulting in the U.S.” From 2005 to 2009, endowment and foundation funds grew 10% annually, which was 5% higher than its corporate and public fund counterparts, the firm said.

With the acquisition complete, the Marsh & McLennan subsidiary, which has more than 20,000 employees in more than 40 countries, will join forces with Hammonds’ group of former chief investment officers, academicians, researchers, management consultants and corporate financial executives, the announcement listed.

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