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Towers Watson Launches Global Not-for-Profit Thinking Ahead Institute

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Global professional services company Towers Watson (NYSE, NASDAQ: TW) announced it is launching a global not-for-profit Thinking Ahead Institute with the aim of influencing change in the investment world to improve the provision of savings. The Institute is open to asset owners, investment managers and other groups that are motivated to influence the industry for the good of savers worldwide, and already has 19 members from Australia, France, South Africa, the U.K. and the U.S., with total assets of $5.6 trillion. The Thinking Ahead Institute is an outgrowth of the company’s Thinking Ahead Group established by Roger Urwin and Tim Hodgson in 2002.

“We have long taken the view that we are not passive participants in the investment world, and we must use our influence to change investment for the better,” said Chris Ford, global head of Investment at Towers Watson. “Acting together, the members of the Thinking Ahead Institute, with trillions of dollars of assets under management or advice, can become a prominent force for improving the value proposition for savers globally.”

The Thinking Ahead Institute, jointly supported by Towers Watson and paying members, will operate as a forum, and use research and discussion collectively to improve the investment industry for the benefit of the end saver. The institute will achieve its objective through research, discussion and private, one-to-one meetings with members.

“We care passionately about the investment industry, and believe that it should also serve the wider needs of society and its clients in aggregate, not just those of its employees. We have pursued this aim for a number of years, and while we’ve had some impact and gathered valuable experience, change has been too slow,” said Hodgson, head of the Thinking Ahead Group at Towers Watson. “The institute is designed to accelerate this through collaboration, collective efforts and the exchange of ideas with like-minded organizations. To this end, we hope to find and connect with industry participants who believe in the value and power of thought leadership to create change.”


In the paper “Our Industry Has a Problem,” Towers Watson describes how the investment industry has been built by the intermediaries for the intermediaries.

Towers Watson Investment

Towers Watson’s Investment business is focused on creating financial value for institutional investors through its expertise in risk assessment, strategic asset allocation, fiduciary management and investment manager selection. It has over 800 associates worldwide, assets under advisory of over US$2.2 trillion and over US$65 billion of assets under management.

About Towers Watson

Towers Watson (NYSE, NASDAQ: TW) is a leading global professional services company that helps organizations improve performance through effective people, risk and financial management. The company offers consulting, technology and solutions in the areas of benefits, talent management, rewards, and risk and capital management. Towers Watson has more than 14,000 associates around the world and is located on the web at

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