For more than 35 years, Marsh USA has been a go-to insurance brokerage and risk management consultant for high net worth (HNW) individuals and families across the country. The brokerage giant has been running two market-leading HNW practices – the Marsh Private Client Services (PCS) and the Marsh & McLennan Agency (MMA) Private Client Services practice - leaving affluent insureds spoilt for choice.
On January 01, 2020, Marsh announced the combination of its Marsh PCS and MMA PCS practices. From now on, the two businesses will operate as one MMA PCS practice under the leadership of Pete Walther (pictured above), former Marsh PCS president. As a combined entity, the MMA PCS practice will serve the HNW sector from 120 locations throughout the US with more than 700 client-facing colleagues.
“This is a true merger of equals. The two practices have operated side by side since the beginning of MMA, which is just over 10-years-old now. They’re two very similar-sized organizations in the market, with complimentary resources that we are bringing together to create a best practice environment,” said Bill Jeatran (pictured below), president of Marsh & McLennan Agency. “We’re very excited to bring two great companies together within a common parent company. This is not about cost savings or operational efficiency. It’s about creating growth opportunities for our colleagues and bringing together the best of both firms, whether that’s innovation, product, services or solutions, so that we can bring something to market that best serves our clients.”
The Marsh PCS brand is the more longstanding business of the two. Over 35 years, it has established itself as a top brand in the family office space and is very highly respected in the HNW and ultra-HNW space. By comparison, the MMA PCS practice is only 10 years old, and is the product of more than 75 acquisitions of high-quality insurance agencies that in many cases, have expertise in the HNW and upper-middle-market space. Together, both entities will hit the upper-middle-market on up to the ultra-HNW and the family office space. There’s little overlap, but where there is, it’s “very complimentary,” according to Jeatran.
“From a strategic standpoint, what’s gotten us so excited about the opportunity is the marriage of Marsh’s PCS business and its institutional knowledge of America’s most successful and influential individuals and families, and combining that with the industry-leading resources and solutions of MMA, its very expansive footprint, and its embedded client base of private business owners. Being able to tap into that made a tremendous amount of sense for us,” commented Walther.
“As a combined entity, our core value proposition remains the same whether you’re a legacy Marsh PCS or an MMA PCS client,” he added. “Our job, by definition in the service business, is to create value for our clients, and that’s not going to change with this combination. What will change are some of the benefits and scale that we can bring to our clients. Those benefits include a more expansive and diverse geographic platform, deeper bench strength, and more specialist capability under one roof enabling us to deliver a more seamless value proposition to all clients.”
The combination will also enable the two businesses to pool together their investment dollars. Pre-merger, they were traveling down independent tracks but with similar destinations. They were both looking at their technology stacks, at client delivery and how to digitize their businesses. Now they’re channeling those investments towards one common goal, which Walther said will only “accelerate and enhance the solutions that we build.”
MMA has a history of buying firms. While the unit is not treating this combination as an acquisition, they’re “respecting it like one,” said Jeatran. The top priority right now is to make sure that all colleagues and clients are taken care of and are comfortable with the changes, he added.
“Bill has been completely consistent from day one,” Walther told Insurance Business. “This is all about delivering better value to colleagues and clients, and if we take care of both of those groups, we’ll capture fair value for ourselves as a firm. To enable a smooth transition, we’re engaging colleagues from both sides of the organization to work together on various integration issues. We want them to be architects of change and to feel the power of those changes – that’s the culture we want to create.
“We’re not trying to accelerate through anything or skip any steps with this combination. We’ve got time on our side. These are two really good businesses. There’s nothing broken that needs to be fixed. It’s really about taking good care of people, taking good care of clients and exercising patient discipline that’s appropriate for our mission.”