People are the key asset of any service company

Your leader ’What’s in it for Willis?’ (Leader, 24 January), raises some interesting issues concerning the potential post-merger impact on what analysts like to call human capital.

People, as I like to call them, are the key asset of any service company and these key assets walk out of the building every night. Whether they come back the next day or not is often rarely in the hands of the employer.

If Willis and Marsh were indeed to come together (or for that matter Benfield and Aon) the fact that these key assets are also the most expensive will not be lost on the management.

Cost cutting and downsizing however, can only disrupt client service and ultimately the welfare of the staff. No broker can survive without clients and it will be these very clients that will continue to support the most creative and innovative brokers, wherever they are housed.

As this potential merger has already hit the headlines, it will have caused concern among the thousands of employees of these two giants. Many of them will not wait for the hammer to fall and will begin to assess their future prospects. The number of start-ups and the migration to smaller independent brokers that will follow can only be good for the market and particularly for the ultimate buyers.

As the chief executive of an independent broker I welcome this development.

James Summers

Chief executive

Cooper Gay & Co