Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Towers Watson Increases Stake in Leading South African Consultancy

Towers Watson (NYSE, NASDAQ:TW), a leading global professional services company, has increased its shareholding in Fifth Quadrant, the independent South African actuarial and employee benefits consultancy, from 20 per cent to 40 per cent. The firm, which formed a strategic alliance with Fifth Quadrant in June 2008, has also agreed to increase this shareholding to in excess of 50 per cent within the next year. The companies have signed a definitive agreement to this end which is effective from 1 March 2011. In line with its increased shareholding the firm has appointed Nigel Biggs as Managing Consultant of the Towers Watson/Fifth Quadrant operations in southern Africa.

Babloo Ramamurthy, Regional Manager, EMEA for Towers Watson said: “For Towers Watson, this is a logical next step in strengthening our relationship with Fifth Quadrant and building our presence and brand in southern Africa. We see strong growth opportunities here in the coming years, and our excellent strategic fit with Fifth Quadrant will ensure we capitalise on these while offering seamless consulting services to our multinational clients. We are delighted that Nigel has re-joined us and is taking on this exciting role.”

Nigel Biggs previously worked at Towers Watson as a consulting actuary before joining Unilever in 1997 in a number of senior leadership positions. During his career at Unilever, Nigel focussed on the company’s international benefit arrangements, including significant experience in a number of African countries. Nigel will be responsible for the growth of the combined Towers Watson/Fifth Quadrant business both in southern and the rest of Africa.

Ant Lester, Managing Director of Fifth Quadrant said: “Our relationship with Towers Watson has significantly enhanced the service we can provide to clients, including global companies with operations in southern Africa, as well as enabling us to advise southern African firms on global best practice. We look forward to Towers Watson’s greater involvement in the development of our business in the future, and welcome Nigel as part of this.”

This agreement follows Towers Watson’s recent acquisition of EMB, a non-life consulting and software company, which is aimed at expanding its consulting and software offering to non-life insurers around the world, including southern Africa.

With offices in Johannesburg and Cape Town, Fifth Quadrant employs 73 staff, including 20 actuaries. The firm has a “blue chip” client base and is the leading asset consulting firm in South Africa ( advising 25 of the largest 100 funds by asset size ). Fifth Quadrant's core business is the provision of independent advice to institutional clients in the areas of actuarial services, retirement fund consulting, investment consulting and health benefit consulting.

Towers Watson is a New York Stock Exchange listed company with a market capitalisation of over US$ 4.5 billion ( ZAR 32 billion ) and 156 offices across EMEA, the Americas and Asia. The firm advises some of the world's leading multinational organisations on people and financial issues and has over 14,000 associates worldwide.

About Fifth Quadrant

Fifth Quadrant Actuaries & Consultants (Pty) Ltd is an independent South African firm of actuaries and employee benefits consultants established in 1998. Its core business is to provide independent, high quality advice to institutional clients, which include retirement funds, medical schemes, charitable trusts and corporate and public sector clients. It can be located on the web at

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