Aon moves headquarters from Chicago to London

Aon Corp., the world’s largest insurance broker, announced today that it is moving its corporate headquarters from Chicago to London. It’s the first US S&P 500 company to take up residence in the UK, the Financial Times reported.

“The move provides greater access to emerging markets and takes better advantage of the strategic proximity to Lloyd’s and the London market as one of the key international hubs of insurance and risk brokerage,” Aon said in a statement, according to Bloomberg News.

About 20 employees, including Chief Executive Officer Greg Case, will move to London, but there won’t be any job cuts in Chicago, which will continue to serve as the firm’s Americas headquarters, Bloomberg News reported. In fact, Aon officials said, the company plans to add 1,000 positions in the US in 2012. The firm will also continue to be regulated by the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Financial Times reported.

According to Reuters:

Aon's move could boost London's status as one of the pre-eminent global hubs for property and casualty insurance and reinsurance, alongside Zurich, Bermuda and Singapore.

John Nelson, chairman of the Lloyd’s market, told the Financial Times, “This is saying, ‘We want our top management to be closer to the worldwide hub for insurance.’ That does indicate that there is a real determination by the top management to internationalize themselves – and London is seen to be the best place to do it.”

Aon’s hop across the pond will require shareholder approval, Reuters reported.

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