Joining the big league at Aon

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 10 September, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 10 September, 2011, 12:00am


Financial institutions are accelerating their investment in the Greater China region and it's no wonder - with dynamic advantages from which to benefit on both sides. Risk management services provider Aon Risk Solutions recently appointed Owen Belman as chief executive officer of Greater China in a strategic move to enhance its leadership in the region. He swaps e-mail with Hilda Poon

Why did you join Aon Risk Solutions?

For the opportunity to move up the league tables. Aon is the acknowledged market leader globally and across Greater China, and it's great to be with a winner. That said, Aon still has tremendous upside. Its brand is not widely known outside of the industry, though the sponsorship of Manchester United has helped dramatically. Aon has an enviable footprint globally, particularly in Asia. Greater China is one of the fastest growing regions in most industries, but especially in brokerage and insurance, where commercial penetration rates are very low.

What are the key areas of the company's development strategy in Greater China?

Aon's objective is to bring distinctive client value, unmatched talent, and operational excellence to its engagements. The same is true in Greater China, but given that many of our clients are operating and investing across the region, capturing cross-border opportunities through seamless customer service is imperative. We need to be the most client-focused firm, offering the best industry talent, for clients focused domestically in mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan, as well as elsewhere in the region.

Why strengthen leadership capability in Greater China?

More of our clients are accelerating their investment in the region and are looking for risk management partners who can anticipate and serve their needs. We need to rapidly grow our group of leaders across Greater China who can bring the best of Aon Risk Solutions' global offer to bear in client engagements.

How will you empower leaders in the company?

Empowerment starts with putting in place the right leaders, then supporting them with the right tools, investment, and trust.

What is the current staff count in Hong Kong, Taiwan and the mainland?

Aon has three business units, including Aon Risk Solutions, the insurance brokering and risk management advisory business; Aon Hewitt, the human resource consulting and outsourcing business; and Aon Benfield, the reinsurance intermediary and capital advisor of Aon. Aon Risk Solutions has 530 staff across Greater China.

How many more staff, and in which departments, are you planning to hire in the coming year?

Recruiting and retention in this region is a challenge across industries, and it is a credit to Aon's brand and value proposition that we have remarkably low attrition rates. Asia and Greater China are growth markets for Aon, and will receive considerable investment, as a result. We will use a combination of organic growth and targeted external hires to expand distribution, particularly in mainland China.

What do you offer in terms of work-life balance?

Aon Risk Solutions offers paternity leave, employee volunteering leave, and the ARS recreational club.

What can your staff expect in terms of professional development?

We are committed to becoming an employer of choice, offering a world-class working environment. We have a number of initiatives underway to sharpen performance management, learning and development, and knowledge sharing.