Willis Group Holdings Plc named Rafal Walkiewicz and Michael Guo co-chief executive officers of the investment-banking operation as the insurance broker seeks business arranging deals and betting on securities tied to risks like the weather.
They will replace Tony Ursano, who has led Willis Capital Markets and Advisory since 2009 when he joined from Bank of America Corp., the London-based broker said in a statement Wednesday. Walkiewicz joined Willis last year from Goldman Sachs Group Inc.’s financial institutions group where he worked on more than $50 billion in merger-and-acquisition and financing transactions. Guo was hired in 2013 from Boston Consulting Group to help expand in Asia.
Brokers like Willis, which traditionally help commercial clients buy insurance, have been turning to Wall Street for talent as they push into more complicated dealmaking. The companies can advise on takeovers and help arrange the transfer of insurance blocks from one firm to another. They also work on securities such as catastrophe bonds, where fixed-income investors get above-market yields by wagering on the chances of events like hurricanes and earthquakes.
The capital markets unit is “at the heart of many of the most exciting changes taking place” in the insurance industry, Willis CEO Dominic Casserley said in the statement. “Rafal, Michael and the whole WCMA leadership team will ensure that our analytical capabilities, strength in reinsurance and capital markets experience are deployed to achieve the very best outcomes for our clients.”
WCMA was established in 2009 and operates from New York, London, Hong Kong and a Sydney location established this year. Willis advised on transactions in recent months including Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd.’s agreement to buy Lloyd’s of London insurer Brit Plc for more than $1.8 billion, and Fosun International Ltd.’s deal to acquire Meadowbrook Insurance Group Inc.