The HR supergroup
Founded in 2010, Towers Watson is one of the world's largest HR
and actuarial consulting firms-the result of a merger between
Towers Perrin and Watson Wyatt Worldwide after years of direct
competition between the two. The firm has over 14,000
employees and multiple offices on every continent but Antarctica.
Its practices focus on human resources and risk and financial
In mid-2009, both Towers Perrin and Watson Wyatt agreed to what
was billed as a "merger of equals," creating one powerhouse that
would possess twice the headcount and global presence of either
originating firm. By the time the merger was consummated at the
start of 2010, Towers Perrin and Watson Wyatt had each shifted
their headquarters from Connecticut and Virginia, respectively, to
a central location in New York City.
TP + WW = TW 4eva?
The formation of Towers Watson brought together decades of
experience and history from the constituent firms. Towers Perrin
began operations in 1934 as an insurance and pension advisory,
although its full history-complete with yet more mergers-dates
back as far as 1871. Since the 1940s, Towers Perrin published
its TPF&C Pension Tax Manual, which became standard issue for
the Internal Revenue Service for tax law guidance. Much of Towers'
finance and insurance actuarial services were handled by its
Tillinghast division, the largest practice of its kind in the
world, which offered consultation and software solutions to
insurance and financial services companies.
Watson Wyatt was no stranger to mergers itself; the firm was the
famous product of an alliance between two longstanding actuarial
legends, The Wyatt Company and R Watson & Sons. Regarded as the
world's oldest actuarial firm, R Watson & Sons began in 1878
and grew to become an industry leader largely through advisory work
for the British government in establishing social insurance
programs. The Wyatt Company, meanwhile, was established as a U.S.
actuarial concern in 1946 and rapidly expanded its practices and
global presence through the following decades. The two joined
forces in 1995 to operate under the name Watson Wyatt Worldwide,
with Wyatt Company's branches handling North American business and
the R Watson & Sons group holding covering Europe. The alliance
between them was in name only, and it wasn't until 2005 that a
formal merger brought them together to form a singular entity.