Five years ago almost to the day a good friend was caught up in the merger of two global asset management organisations, let’s call them AM1 and AM2. A key and valued employee at AM1, she was offered an identical role at the merged entity, which it was clear would be dominated by AM2. Much to my surprise, she turned down the offer. The rationale for her decision was interesting - “If I had wanted to pursue a career at AM2 I would have accepted a role that had been offered to me there three years ago.”
Recently we met up, virtually, and I enquired how her decision had worked out. Whilst it was not perfect, she explained, the fact that she was her pursuing her chosen career path was a source of considerable satisfaction. She had remained in control of her own career plan.
There are interesting parallels here with the dilemma currently facing clients of Aon and WTW. At some stage in the past, each of their pension fund clients took the decision to enter a relationship with these organisations, agreeing what the nature of the contract between them would be. Some, for example, may only recently have changed their advisor from Aon to WTW, and now face finding themselves back at the organisation they deliberately left, or vice versa.
By deciding to merge, Aon and WTW have introduced uncertainty in respect of how that contract will now be experienced by their customers. Were they to decide to take no action, each of these pension funds face the possibility of arriving at a place they did not plan to travel to.
"By deciding to merge, Aon and WTW have introduced uncertainty in respect of how that contract will now be experienced by their customers."
They do have options, and the choices they make now will determine the extent to which their future is the one they had been planning for.
Given this reality, it would not be surprising if each pension fund was giving active consideration to a potential Plan B in respect of their consultant relationships.
More on the aon / wtw merger: