The Aon Willis Towers Watson merger – UK Pension Plans' Virgil van Dijk Moment

3 November 2020 Posted by: Simone Lavelle Posted In: Trustee Boards/Investment Committees, outsourcing, Fund management

Football or soccer ball at the kickoff of a game - outdoors


I’m from The Netherlands, and whilst I live and work in the UK I continue to follow the fortunes (!) of the Dutch football team. Therefore, I was sad to hear of the injury to our current star player, Virgil van Dijk last week.

Whilst the chorus of sympathy that followed was understandable, I found myself perplexed at the cries of “disaster for Liverpool” in the media, as if this professional organisation would not have considered the possibility of such an occurrence and have put a contingency plan in place.

In my day job I work shoulder to shoulder with UK pension funds who are themselves currently experiencing their “Virgil van Dijk moment” with the merger of AON and Willis Towers Watson. However, it is clear that for some pension funds at least, their contingency planning is not what it should be. It turns out that a key player on the team managing a significant number of pension funds in the UK is not likely to be as fit for purpose as they were expected to be for a considerable period of time.

Football clubs who may have discovered unanticipated gaps in their player contingency plans will have to await the opening of the January transfer window to sort that out. Luckily, the UK pension fund consultancy market faces no such restrictions. If existing contingency plans do not cater for an event such as AON / WTW, funds are free to seek any help they may require to search the market for alternative consulting talent.

 

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

The Aon/ WTW merger -- you have more power than you think 

The Aon/WTW merger-- A Keynesian perspective

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

Is Big Really Beautiful?  Notes on the discussion on  the AON/WTW merger  Download the full report