NORWAY – Consultant William M. Mercer has set up a new operation in Oslo to begin offering retirement and employee benefit services to the Norwegian market – a move involving the transfer of employees from the local operations of parent company Marsh & McLennan.

And the firm is also poised to double the headcount at its Helsinki branch through a similar transfer of Marsh & McLennan personnel in Finland.

The new Norwegian office, headed up by Jørn Givfold, will employ eighteen people who, until now, worked on employment benefit issues at the Oslo insurance broking operations of Marsh & McLennan.

The office will expand its remit during the year to offer performance reward and human resources consulting.
Existing Marsh & McLennan clients using these services will also be transferred over to the Mercer operation.

“ There has been a need for this in the Norwegian market. We’ll concentrate on pension benefits to start with, but it will be a full range Mercer office as soon as possible,” says Ola Larson, manager of the Nordic region at Mercer’s Stockholm office.

Meanwhile in Finland, employees working on retirement issues at Marsh & McLennan are also being moved to Mercer’s Helsinki office to broaden the services available.
“ We’ve had an office there but it has been dealing with performance reward and global information services, now it will be a full service office. The move will double the size of our operations there,” Larson comments.

The expansion comes after the recent withdrawal of Mercer’s Swedish investment consulting capacity from Stockholm back to the group's London base and follows the extension of Stockholm based consultant Wassum into the Norwegian and Finnish markets.

Larson concedes that there is strong competition from local consultancies, but
believes that the support Mercer has from its global network and its breadth of services will give it an advantage over the smaller firms.
“ We have to act now to keep a step ahead,” he concludes.