Mumbai: Global consulting firm Mercer, a subsidiary of Marsh & McLennan Companies Inc., has acquired investment advisory firm India Life Capital, a senior Mercer executive said.

Mercer delivers advice and technology-driven solutions that help organizations meet the health, wealth and career needs of their employees. It operates in over 130 countries and employs more than 23,000 people.

Anish Sarkar, chief executive officer at Mercer India, told Mint the acquisition will help the firm expand services under its wealth portfolio. He did not disclose financial details of the transaction.

“In India, we have a fairly large presence in the careers space. We also do some work on health and wealth space, primarily on actuarial valuations, some amount of retirement consulting and recently, a little bit of play in health and wellness. From a Mercer standpoint, we have a much larger portfolio globally and we are really keen to make sure that we are able to continually expand what we are doing with our clients in India and keep getting into more and more world-class offerings and solutions that Mercer is offering to its global clients," said Sarkar.

“Wealth is a line of business that we have been keen to grow in India and this acquisition of India Life Capital is a strategic acquisition for us to get into this space," he said.

“India Life is one of the largest Sebi-registered investment advisors, at the moment focused largely on advising retirement funds but also expanding into other asset classes. So, for us, it marks an expansion of our wealth business into the investment advisory space," Sarkar added.

India Life Capital was set up in 1996 as an integrated payroll and benefits administrator with investment advisory capabilities. The payroll & benefits administration business was sold to Hewitt Associates in 2002.

Mercer, globally, under its investment advisory business, manages approximately $240 billion of assets under delegated management.

India Life’s existing business spans investment advisory, investment consulting and retirement consulting, with over 100 clients that include domestic and multinational companies, banks, leading educational institutes and public sector organizations.

Sarkar added that recent regulatory changes have made the space attractive.

“Three years back, the government started to change the norms for investments of retirement funds. It increased the equity component to 15%, which used to be 0%. It may even go up higher. They are trying to get the investment norms for retirement funds more in line with the global norms. With this, there is that much more demand for the kind of investment advisory services that India life offers," he said.

Mercer will leverage the India Life platform to bring its other offerings in the investment advisory space to Indian clients, while also expanding the services to new clients.

“The investment landscape in India is evolving rapidly, so all large pools of assets are looking for reliable trusted investment advice and I think the idea is to work with a much larger number of clients but also start to expand into other asset classes and not just retirement funds," said Sarkar.

“We also want to make sure that we are catering the full power of Mercer’s investment solutions portfolio globally to our Indian clients," he said.

“For us, this will be the platform where we will not just continue doing the same thing that India Life is doing for its clients, but bring the full suite of portfolio to our Indian clients over a period of time," he added.

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