Insurance and reinsurance broking group and advisory Willis Towers Watson (WTW) is closing down its Securities mergers & acquisitions (M&A) advisory unit, as it’s understood that this business as a distinct unit does not fit the strategic direction of the company anymore.
We understand that after over eight years of operating a specific investment banking transactional unit at the brokerage, WTW no longer sees this as fitting its strategic direction and hence has decided to close down the M&A Advisory business within the Securities unit, which had focused on providing transactional M&A advice for clients.
The Willis Towers Watson Securities unit used to encompass both insurance-linked securities (ILS) and M&A advisory or transactional business, but the ILS business was integrated into the reinsurance broking arm Willis Re earlier this year.
We understand that WTW saw this integration of the ILS business into its reinsurance broking arm as a natural evolution, enabling it to align its offerings to those seeking reinsurance and retrocessional protection and ensure that traditional and capital markets solutions are treated with equal importance.
This is positive for clients of brokers, just so long as the brokers on the ground are up to speed with the wealth of options available and all reinsurance brokers are empowered to bring ILS solutions to their clients, should they be a good fit for them.
Willis Re Deputy Chairman Mark Hvidsten commented on this integration today, saying, “The amalgamation of the reinsurance and ILS teams into a cohesive business unit allows us to offer integrated solutions that serve clients’ long-term needs.
“Our capital markets professionals now work alongside reinsurance brokers to ensure that our brokers are best placed to offer integrated strategic advice to our clients across the full spectrum of capital solutions.”
WTW continues to offer a range of M&A services within the business, covering all stages of the M&A transaction process.
But this is the end of Securities and investment banking as a distinct unit in the WTW broking business, which given the alternative is rapidly becoming the traditional is perhaps setting a trend that could be repeated by others in the broking space.