Andrew-BoalWatson Wyatt has added an important new stream to its Australian operation and strengthened its global investment advice business through the finalisation yesterday of its worldwide merger with Towers Perrin.

Towers Watson was scheduled to trade for the first time last night on the NYSE and Nasdaq markets following European regulatory approval on 4 December and shareholder approval for the merger on 18 December.

Andrew Boal, managing director of the former Watson Wyatt Australia – and now Towers Watson – said the addition of an insurance consulting business widened the Australian offering and also gave the firm access to a new client base in the form of insurance companies.

Towers Perrin’s Australian operation, which divested itself of investment consulting through a deal with Russell Investment Group in 2004, included the former Tillinghast insurance and actuarial operation.

Boal said yesterday that the human resources advice which both firms have offered would also be strengthened through the addition of Towers Perrin’s tailored employee and customer surveys which are designed to help employers with their human resources strategies. Towers Perrin acquired the survey business known as ISR in 2007.

With the investment arm, the merger would add resources in research and consulting overseas, particularly in the US and Canada.

Boal said the three main businesses of the new Towers Watson entity were:

1. Benefits – advice to super funds, actuarial and other advice on defined benefit funds, merger strategies and a range of other information services.

2. Risk and financial services – split into the new insurance and software division and the investment consulting and research division.

3. Talent and rewards – the employee culture and customer surveys and advice on goal alignment strategies including remuneration.

Boal said scale was important in investment consulting, because of the need for detailed research.

“Watson Wyatt was acknowledged as one of the most influential investment consulting firms globally and the merger with Towers Perrin will certainly enhance this status,” he said.


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