Aon will still operate from London, despite the decision to create an irish parent company

Broking giant Aon is to move its parent company from the UK to Ireland as it seeks to ensure that it is not left out in the cold after Brexit.

The decision, which will need to be agreed by its shareholders, will require the broker to create a new publicly held parent company incorporated in Ireland.

If shareholders approve the transaction, the company will make an application to the High Court of England and Wales to seek approval. Aon said that it expects the move to be completed in the first quarter of next year.

Aon was quick to stress that it will maintain the firm’s operating company headquarters at the Leadenhall Building in London.

“The firm’s commitment to the UK and the important London insurance market remains unchanged and unrivalled,” it stated. “Over the last several years, Aon has solidified its position in the UK domestic market, with the acquisitions of, among others, Henderson and Portus Consultancy, which doubled the firm’s retail business within the UK, and added 500 UK colleagues.”

Market insiders said the move was driven by the broker’s desire not to be left unable to operate in the European Union after Brexit, if an agreement on the maintenance of the current passporting of financial services between the Europe and the UK was not agreed.

Aon became the first US S&P 500 company ever to be domiciled in London when it moves its headquarters to London in 2012 and into the iconic ’cheesegrater’ opposite Lloyd’s.

At the time it said London was the ideal site given the ability to work with both the US and the emerging markets of Africa and the Far East during parts of the UK working day.

Driven by Brexit

“it is simply driven by the need to be prepared for Brexit,” one insider told Insurance Times.

“London remains a global centre, but Aon cannot take the chance that it will be unable to operate across the EU if there is a Brexit which does not involved any agreement around financial services.

”In a way they’re going home as Aon means one in Irish, and its founder Pat Ryan is very proud of his family’s Irish roots.”