Willis Capital Markets & Advisory Marks Third Anniversary
Team within global insurance broker continues to expand investment banking platform as it notches new deals
London, UK, October 11, 2012 –With the announcement this month that Willis Capital Markets & Advisory (WCMA) is serving as the exclusive financial advisor to an investor group led by CVC Capital Partners (CVC) on the recapitalization of Cunningham Lindsey — by which funds advised by CVC will acquire majority ownership of Cunningham Lindsey — the Willis Group Holdings ((NYSE:WSH) unit has now advised on over 30 deals as it marks the third anniversary of its formation in 2009. The Cunningham Lindsey transaction represents WCMA’s second advisory role with CVC.
Cunningham Lindsey is a leading provider of independent loss adjusting and claims management services worldwide. In addition to its core loss adjusting services, Cunningham Lindsey provides engineering consultancy, risk management, risk survey, environmental remediation consultancy, valuation and related services. Cunningham Lindsey's global network consists of approximately 7,000 people in 61 countries worldwide.
Since WCMA’s formation as Willis Group's insurance industry investment banking platform, the 25 person team with operations in New York and London has advised an array of clients in the area of capital raising and mergers & acquisition transactions. In the process, WCMA, led by Tony Ursano, has become a prominent player in insurance investment banking.
Recently, for example, in addition to advising the investor group led by the private equity firm CVC on its recapitalization of Cunningham Lindsey, WCMA has been involved in several other prominent insurance industry M&A transactions. These major deals include advising Permanent General on its sale to American Family Insurance Group; advising Family Heritage on its sale to Torchmark; and advising ACE Limited on its acquisition of the Mexican surety insurer Fianzas Monterrey. These deals are expected to close in Q4 2012 or Q1 2013.
WCMA also acted as advisor to AmWINS, the wholesale insurance broker, in its $1.3 billion sale to New Mountain Capital, one of the most closely watched insurance services transactions of the year. On the horizon for WCMA is its announced role as financial advisor to Tawa, the UK publicly traded run off specialist, in a formal sale process now underway.
The range of deals in which WCMA has been engaged in 2012 represent the next chapter of the goal envisioned by Willis Group Chairman and CEO Joe Plumeri when, in 2009, he brought Ursano in-house to expand Willis’ capital markets capabilities. Prior to joining Willis, Ursano, then a Vice Chairman of Banc of America Securities, had built and managed that firm’s financial institutions corporate and investment banking business over the prior nine years. In his prior role, Ursano had advised Willis on its $2.1 billion acquisition of rival broker Hilb Rogal & Hobbs (HRH) in 2008.
“We are excited about the momentum we have in our business, which has been on prominent display this year,” said Ursano. “Our proposition is powerful and our pipeline is strong. Our ability to leverage Willis' global client relationships, cutting-edge analytics, market intelligence and industry expertise, along with our team's substantial investment banking experience makes us an advisor of choice with unmatched experience and domain expertise.”
Beyond M&A, WCMA is also emerging as a prominent player in traditional debt and equity capital raising and the growing area of insurance linked securities (ILS) having now executed upon 12 capital raising transactions. In 2011, for example, WCMA acted as sole bookrunner and sole structuring agent on an innovative $200 million catastrophe bond covering workers’ compensation catastrophe exposures for the State of California Insurance Fund. That transaction won the award for Deal of the Year from Trading Risk Magazine. Building on that success, WCMA has also launched a secondary trading desk for insurance linked securities to solidify its commitment to being a leader in the ILS space. “We’re a natural participant in this emerging market that attracts new capital to our industry,” Ursano added, noting the continued growth of WCMA’s pipeline of ILS mandates.
As Ursano explains, “We’ve enjoyed a gratifying growth trajectory over three years and are squarely focused on a ten year strategy to build the highest quality insurance capital raising and advisory business in the world and to further develop our reputation as the insurance industry experts. After establishing our footholds in New York and London, we’re now looking to Asia and Latin America as new potential hubs of expertise and areas for continued growth. Expertise, integrity, a tireless focus on our clients, combined with good old fashioned hard work will, we hope, continue to give us the winning edge.”
About Willis Group Holdings
Willis Group Holdings plc is a leading global insurance broker. Through its subsidiaries,
Willis develops and delivers professional insurance, reinsurance, risk management,
financial and human resource consulting and actuarial services to corporations, public
entities and institutions around the world. Willis has more than 400 offices in nearly 120
countries, with a global team of approximately 17,000 employees serving clients in
virtually every part of the world. Additional information on Willis may be found at
Forward Looking Statements
We have included in this document ‘forward-looking statements'. All statements, other than statements of historical facts that address activities, events or developments that we expect or anticipate may occur in the future are forward-looking statements. Although we believe that the assumptions underlying these statements are reasonable, any of these assumptions, and therefore also the forward-looking statements based on these assumptions, could themselves prove to be inaccurate. In light of the significant uncertainties inherent in forward-looking statements, our inclusion of this information is not a representation or guarantee by us that our objectives and plans will be achieved.
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