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Marsh/JLT: What the merger will create

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Marsh & McLennan’s takeover of rival broker JLT is all but certain, after JLT shareholders in London voted overwhelmingly in favour of the merger.

The deal will create a global giant and the largest insurance broker in Australia.

There are still some regulatory hoops to jump through, but industry insiders believe it’s a done deal.

Nobody knows exactly what the merger will bring in Australia, but early indications suggest a 2-5% headcount reduction across a global workforce of 75,000.

Marsh President and CEO Dan Glaser has cited Australia as a “top six” country for his global company, and says “JLT is quite large and significant there too, so I love the idea of how that combines”.

What he didn’t say is that JLT in Australia is significantly larger than Marsh in one of the most important measurements of all – profit.

Nobody disputes the two companies are a good fit in this market – there is not much crossover and JLT’s dominance in prime niche sectors such as local government complements Marsh’s strength in the large corporate space.

Mr Glaser says yesterday’s vote, which saw 99.9% of votes back the deal, is an important milestone.

“The process of planning the future of Marsh & McLennan and JLT together now begins in earnest,” he said.

“Upon closing, the combined firm will have the deepest pool of talent in the industry, the broadest industry expertise, and the greatest capability to invest in data, analytics and digital solutions.

“We will meet our clients’ greatest challenges with innovation and thought leadership.”

The transaction still remains subject to additional antitrust, financial regulatory and UK High Court approvals.