Will Aon sing the changes after Canary Wharf move?

It was perhaps no major shock that as thrifty a broker as Aon - we all remember the £70 cap on lunch...

It was perhaps no major shock that as thrifty a broker as Aon - we all remember the £70 cap on lunchtime expenses - is looking to leave Devonshire Square, a stone's throw from Lloyd's, and move to Canary Wharf.

UK chairman and chief executive Dennis Mahoney questioned why the company had to be based in the City when the company unveiled plans to cut 750 jobs last year (PM, 13 October, p56).

"If I told my bosses I wanted to move to a new trophy building in London they would think I'd lost my marbles," he told Post Magazine. "With developments in e-commerce, why would you want a big office in the centre of one of the most expensive cities in the world and a 25-year lease you can't get out of?"

Of course, while the London market has moved on from the days of the abacus and large files of paper - to an extent, at least - the recent decision to bin expensive folly Kinnect was a timely reminder that while progress has been made, there is still a long way to go.

With Dr Richard Ward, formerly head of the International Petroleum Exchange and someone with a good record on technological reform, tipped to take over as chief executive of Lloyd's, the London market could well be a very different place in 2009 when Aon's current lease runs out. It may have even caught up with more advanced sectors such as foreign exchange on derivatives trading by then.

Looking ahead, it will also be interesting to see the outcome of the divergent paths taken by Aon and one of its main rivals, Willis - scheduled to move into a plush new office opposite Lloyd's - with regards to relationships with insurers and clients.

Aon will, no doubt, be at pains to stress that these relationships will not be impacted - and it will certainly be closer, geographically, to UK regulator the Financial Services Authority.

However, given its drive to cut expenses, how will Aon square its frugal approach with a need, if indeed there is any, to attend meetings in EC3. Keeping the taxi drivers of the capital busy and topped up with tips is surely not a cost-effective solution.

One suggestion is that the broker should charter a fleet of Aon-branded buses to commute between Canary Wharf and the City. This would then double up as a great marketing tool and cost-effective transport, giving the company more bang for its buck.

Agree/disagree: e-mail [email protected]

  • LinkedIn  
  • Save this article
  • Print this page  

Only users who have a paid subscription or are part of a corporate subscription are able to print or copy content.

To access these options, along with all other subscription benefits, please contact [email protected] or view our subscription options here: http://subscriptions.postonline.co.uk/subscribe

You are currently unable to copy this content. Please contact [email protected] to find out more.

You need to sign in to use this feature. If you don’t have an Insurance Post account, please register for a trial.

Sign in
You are currently on corporate access.

To use this feature you will need an individual account. If you have one already please sign in.

Sign in.

Alternatively you can request an individual account here: