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Mary O’Connor joins Howden to launch capital advisory business

mary oconnor ceo howdencap

HowdenCAP to bring new approach to capital solutions in response to the changing needs of financial institutions and corporate clients ~

Howden has announces the appointment of Mary O’Connor as CEO of HowdenCAP, its new capital, advisory and placement business for financial institutions and corporates. The launch of the division is in direct response to clients’ needs for increasingly complex insurance and investment solutions to optimise capital and achieve strategic goals.

Under O’Connor’s leadership, the business will bring a fresh approach to solutions at the convergence of the insurance and capital markets space to corporate clients and all non-(re)insurance industry clients in the financial services sector, including private equity, banking and asset management.  The new proposition will for the first time at scale, blend the skills and experience of those with backgrounds in banking, law and ‘Big-Four’ consultancy with the breadth and depth of insurance specialisms.

O’Connor has joined from KPMG, where she held the position of Acting CEO.  Prior to this, she held the role of Head of Clients and Markets, having joined KPMG in 2018 as Chief Risk Officer.  O’Connor spent the previous six years at Willis Towers Watson as Head of Client, Industry and Business Development, and Global Head of Financial Institutions. O’Connor will report to José Manuel González, CEO, Howden Broking.

Howden’s advisory arm will house its market-leading Mergers & Acquisitions practice, which specialises in Warranty & Indemnity insurance, its Global Credit Solutions and Surety practices, and specialists in regulatory capital, risk weighted assets, private equity, insolvency, tax, credit and structured finance.  The highly skilled and multi-disciplinary team has a proven track record of creating tailored solutions for Financial Institutions and Corporate clients.  

HowdenCAP is creating a unique, next generation consultancy and by expanding the traditional insurance structures, it will help equip companies to meet the increasingly challenging macro-economic environment.  The formation of HowdenCAP follows Howden’s recent announcement to acquire TigerRisk Partners, the risk, capital and strategic advisor to the global insurance markets, to create a standout reinsurance advisory business. 

Mary O’Connor said: “The combination of the opportunity to build a unique business in a critical space for clients, the power of insurance as a part of the solution to complex and emergent problems, and the passion, energy and talent within Howden to actually deliver something that pushes beyond the traditional boundaries of insurance, presented an exciting opportunity I wanted to grasp.  

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“At a time when the corporate community is facing a unique set of operational, strategic and capital risks, it is absolutely the right moment for a new approach and set of capabilities that will create risk transfer solutions to unlock capital, and by partnering with clients to build resilience and fuel growth.”

José Manuel González, CEO, Howden Broking, commented: “It is at our heart to find people who bring different thinking to the table and challenge the way the insurance sector can help clients with long-term capital solutions to address the risks of the future.  Mary is a natural leader in this field and we’re confident her cross sector expertise and experience will contribute significantly to the roll out and growth of HowdenCAP and enhance our leadership team.  The teams that make up HowdenCAP are already recognised as leading experts in their respective areas and with the talent that will join us to build out the business, we will continue to break new ground.”

David Howden, CEO, Howden Group, said: “There has never been a more critical moment for us to remain relevant to clients by using the power of insurance to help provide answers to long-term capital risks.  The fact that Mary has chosen to come back to insurance speaks loudly to this moment and is an exciting milestone for the industry and an incredibly special moment for all of us at Howden and our evolution.  I am excited to see where she can take HowdenCAP in its journey to become a powerhouse of expertise and innovation which is primed to deliver more for clients.”

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