Marsh & McLennan Seeks Ways to Cut Tax as Competitors Shift to London

By | July 29, 2015

Marsh & McLennan Cos., the largest insurance broker by market value, is seeking ways to cut tax obligations as rivals shift to Europe, where rates are lower.

“The search for tax efficiency for us started several years ago,” Dan Glaser, chief executive officer of the New York-based company, said Tuesday in a conference call. “Clearly, when we look at our competitors, we are at a disadvantage by being a U.S. multinational company vis-a-vis what tax rate we have.”

Towers Watson & Co., the Arlington, Virginia-based firm that competes against Marsh & McLennan in consulting services, agreed last month to merge with Willis Group Holdings plc, of London. Executives plan to have the combined business domiciled in Ireland and have a tax rate in the mid-20 percent range. Aon plc, the second-largest insurance broker, moved its headquarters in 2012 to London from Chicago.

Marsh & McLennan’s effective tax rate has been about 29 percent in recent years. The broker hired Dina Shapiro, a former executive at American Express Co., as head of tax in March.

Glaser’s firm fell 0.9 percent to $57.56 at 11:52 a.m. in New York, erasing most of Marsh & McLennan’s gain for the year.

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