The Aon / WTW merger – You have more power than you think.

6 October 2020 Posted by: Bart Heenk Posted In: Trustee Boards/Investment Committees, outsourcing, Fund management


Like all of you I hate spam. So, recently I decided to take action to reduce the amount of it that comes my way. My plan was to attack my inbox, to unsubscribe to all those organisations I don’t ever recall asking to receive “unmissable deals” from.

Before doing so I took the predictable detour, putting this action off for a few weeks because it was going to be too much trouble and I had loads of other more important tasks to attend to. So, amongst other things I walked the dog a bit more than usual! Finally, I knuckled down and carried through on this promise to myself. What a joy now to be receiving so much less junk email and to feel in control of my inbox. And it turns out the process wasn’t nearly as painful as I feared it might be.

This thought process will doubtless sound familiar – there is a task that you should do, you know there will be a benefit to be had from doing it, but the thought of the hassle that will be necessary to carry it through is incredibly off-putting.

Supplier relationships will change

A similar and indeed more significant dilemma currently confronts many UK pension funds as they take stock of the potential implications of the Aon / Willis Towers Watson merger. For those who are clients of either organisation this could represent a major change in their relationship with probably their largest and possibly most expensive service supplier. Amongst the questions these pension funds will need to ask themselves is the extent they can expect this relationship to change and perhaps more importantly whether they should be considering their options including a possible re-tendering of the underlying contract between them?

The power of large numbers

Whilst attending to any and all such options will require a re-allocation of limited resources, re-tendering would be a major project costing many person-hours resulting in many sleepless nights. Whilst perhaps not quite a case of 'damned if you do, damned if you don’t', it is easy to imagine how powerless individual pension funds may feel, whether they are clients of Aon or WTW, in the face of the merger. Resistance to change may prevent you from doing anything, but that is to ignore the power of large numberspension funds who find themselves in a similar situation may find significant benefits in speaking with each other.

A final point:  pension funds who are clients of either Aon or WTW will face major change even if they choose to do nothing. Better to seize the initiative and 'make that inbox your own' again.



More on the aon / wtw merger:

A pinch of salt -- thoughts on the Aon / WTW merger part 1

Advice sure isn't what it used to be -- thoughts on the Aon/ WTW merger part 2

Synergy? A 1970's disco perspective -- thoughts on the Aon/ WTW merger part 3

Read our full report on the Aon / WTW merger (pdf)


Is Big Really Beautiful?  Notes on the discussion on  the AON/WTW merger  Download the full report  Time for Plan B?  Our second report on the discussion on  the Willis Towers Watson / Aon merger  Download the full report