Russell exits actuarial practice with Willis deal

Russell Investments in Australia is exiting the actuarial part of the industry, announcing last week that it has sold its Australian and New Zealand actuarial practice to Willis Towers Watson. The deal involves the transfer of 22 actuarial staff.

Pete Gunning, Russell’s chief executive for Asia Pacific, said the sale reinforced the firm’s focus on asset management. The agreement would also ensure the specialist standalone practice would continue to grow under its new ownership and the staff would continue to be provided with strong career opportunities, he said.

Russell’s actuarial practice has been operating almost since the firm opened its Sydney office, in 1986. It has more than 50 clients in Australia and New Zealand.

Andrew Boal, the Melbourne-based regional head for Willis Towers Watson, said the combination of his firm’s retirement team and the Russell business would strengthen the value proposition for clients, “providing a wider and deeper range of expertise and service that covers both traditional and new retirement and analytic solutions”.

Brad Jeffrey, who heads up Willis Towers Watson’s retirement team, said there was a strong cultural alignment with the Russell staff.

The acquisition is expected to be finalised next month.