Global insurance broker Howden has launched a new capital, advisory, and placement business for financial institutions and corporates – with Mary O’Connor (pictured) appointed to lead the key business line.
The new business, called “HowdenCAP,” will house Howden’s mergers and acquisitions (M&A) practice – which specialises in warranty and indemnity (W&I) insurance – its global credit solutions and surety practices, and specialists in regulatory capital, risk-weighted assets, private equity, insolvency, tax, credit, and structured finance.
As the CEO of HowdenCAP, O’Connor will help the business bring a fresh approach to solutions at the convergence of the insurance and capital markets space to corporate clients and non-(re)insurance industry clients in the financial sector, including private equity, banking, and asset management. She will report to Howden Broking CEO José Manuel González.
O’Connor moves to Howden from KPMG, which she joined as a chief risk officer (CRO) in 2018, eventually promoted to head of clients and markets, and most recently took on the role of acting CEO. She also spent six years at Willis Towers Watson (WTW) as head of client, industry, and business development and global head of financial institutions.
Commenting on the appointment, González said: “It is at our heart to find people who bring different thinking to the table and challenge the way the insurance sector can help clients with long-term capital solutions to address the risks of the future. Mary is a natural leader in this field, and we’re confident her cross-sector expertise and experience will contribute significantly to the roll out and growth of HowdenCAP and enhance our leadership team. The teams that make up HowdenCAP are already recognised as leading experts in their respective areas, and with the talent that will join us to build out the business, we will continue to break new ground.”
Howden launched the new division in response to clients’ needs for increasingly complex insurance and investment solutions to optimise capital and achieve strategic goals. For the first time at scale, it will blend the skills and experience of those with backgrounds in banking, law, and “Big-Four” consultancy with the breadth and depth of insurance specialisms.
Commenting on Howden’s new business line and her appointment, O’Connor said: “At a time when the corporate community is facing a unique set of operational, strategic, and capital risks, it is absolutely the right moment for a new approach and set of capabilities that will create risk transfer solutions to unlock capital and by partnering with clients to build resilience and fuel growth.”
Howden Group CEO David Howden added: “There has never been a more critical moment for us to remain relevant to clients by using the power of insurance to help provide answers to long-term capital risks. The fact that Mary has chosen to come back to insurance speaks loudly to this moment and is an exciting milestone for the industry and an incredibly special moment for all of us at Howden and our evolution. I am excited to see where she can take HowdenCAP in its journey to become a powerhouse of expertise and innovation, which is primed to deliver more for clients.”
The new division’s launch follows the acquisition of TigerRisk Partners – the risk, capital, and strategic advisor to the global insurance markets – to create a standout reinsurance advisory business.