Mercer L.L.C., the wholly-owned benefits consulting subsidiary of Marsh & McLennan Cos., has agreed to buy a 34% stake in South Africa based employee benefits services company, Alexander Forbes. The purchase is contingent upon approval and successful completion of the company’s upcoming entry into the Johannesburg Stock Exchange.
Alexander Forbes provides employee benefits and investment services to institutional and retail clients in South Africa and sub Saharan Africa including retirement and investment consulting, administrative and actuarial services and health care benefits consulting.
“Alexander Forbes is truly a unique company, in that they have that kind of market dominance in a region that we’re very interested in expanding into,” Julio A. Portalatin, President and Chief Executive Officer of Mercer, said recently. “The strategic value for us is that we have a lot of clients who are thinking of expanding into the African continent, if they haven’t already. Most of them usually start with South Africa and the sub-Sahara region, so this gives us a good foothold in terms of supporting their efforts going forward.”
“Mercer will provide additional benefits for our clients in Africa, while our employees will have access to the latest global skills and trends to help them serve our clients better throughout the world,” Alexander Forbes Group Chief Executive Officer Edward Kieswetter said in the statement. “At the same time, this partnership will provide opportunities for our employees to advance their own talent and potential.”
“I think we all see Africa’s potential as a growth market over the next decade as being pretty strong,” Portalatin said. “We had the decade of Asia, and we’re in the midst currently of the decade of Latin America, and I think it’s probably pretty safe to bet that we’re going to see pretty good growth trajectories in Africa.”