CHICAGO -- Towers Perrin is closing its Chicago asset consulting practice, shifting the handling of clients to Philadelphia and eliminating the three staff positions.
A Towers Perrin statement said the move is "part of a continuing process for global integration of its asset consulting services and better integration of this practice with its core retirement business in the United States."
The staff was told Dec. 3 the office would close, effective immediately, according to former Towers Perrin employees. The Atlanta and New York offices will not experience any changes, spokesman Joe Conway said. He said no further consolidation is expected, noting the process has been going on for about a year. The firm closed its Pittsburgh office last spring, following the departure of its two investment consultants.
As part of the consolidation, three Chicago positions were eliminated: the full-time position of consultant Bill Madden; the part-time position of consultant Geri Hansen; and one associate-level position held by David Beata. The three consultants could not be reached by press time. Ms. Hansen will join Watson Wyatt Worldwide's Chicago office.
Towers Perrin's investment consulting division has lost several people since late 1997, when Kathleen Higgins, national director, and Brian Hersey, head of research, left. It could not be learned how many asset consultants Towers Perrin has. Ms. Higgins was replaced by William Gulliver, a principal and actuary at Towers Perrin. Since then, two consultants in New York have left, followed by two consultants in Pittsburgh and three in Atlanta.
Chicago is rumored to have lost accounts recently because of staff turnover, but it had been a large and profitable office, according to some former employees. Towers Perrin declined to comment.
According to Towers Perrin, the Philadelphia office is larger, with 1,600 employees, while Chicago has about 400. Mr. Conway would not give the number of consultants in Philadelphia. The firm has 23 tax-exempt clients, according to Pensions & Investments' annual survey of consulting firms. Twenty are corporate plans. Mr. Conway would not say how many of those were serviced out of Chicago.