• Smith to head insurance analytics, Pratt to lead fixed income
  • Malloy builds team at Neuberger after joining from JPMorgan

Neuberger Berman, the employee-owned money manager run by George Walker, hired three people to help build an operation that oversees $22 billion for insurance clients.

Steve Smith joined from the asset-management division of Goldman Sachs Group Inc. to lead insurance analytics, while ex-BlackRock Inc. debt strategist J.P. Sursock was added as a client adviser, Neuberger Berman said Monday in a statement. Former Montpelier Reinsurance Holdings Ltd. Chief Investment Officer Jason Pratt was named a portfolio manager and head of insurance fixed income.

The newcomers report to Matt Malloy, who joined last year from JPMorgan Chase & Co. to oversee the newly created unit. Insurers have been turning to external money managers to find higher-yielding assets as record low interest rates have drained investment income from traditional holdings such as the safest bonds. Malloy said his firm has seen a “significant pickup in risk and alternative assets,” winning business to bet on private equity, the loan market and below-investment-grade debt while expanding in emerging markets.

‘Growing Segments’

“Insurance companies are a very large asset base, and in terms of flows and activity to third-party asset managers, it’s been one of the largest and fastest growing segments of the market,” Malloy said by phone. “We want to make sure that we have a level of expertise and staffing and resources to support that trend.” He said the team may hire more people.

Smith worked at Babson Capital Management, a division of Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Co., before joining Goldman Sachs. Sursock worked at Barclays Plc, Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc., Merrill Lynch and the National Bureau of Economic Research before joining BlackRock.

Pratt oversaw more than $2.7 billion at Montpelier, which was purchased by rival reinsurer Endurance Specialty Holdings Ltd. last year. He’s based in Chicago while Sursock and Smith are in New York.

Neuberger Berman oversaw $246 billion of client assets as of June 30. Malloy also previously worked at Goldman Sachs. He joined JPMorgan in 2010, and assets under management for insurance clients there swelled to more than $70 billion.

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