W.R. Berkley Hires Ex-Morgan Stanley Banker for Strategy

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  • Abbey was previously M&A, corporate-restructuring banker
  • He will help with corporate strategy and development

W.R. Berkley Corp., the Greenwich, Connecticut-based commercial insurer, named former Morgan Stanley investment banker Jared Abbey as senior vice president for corporate strategy and development.

Abbey previously worked as a banker focusing on mergers and acquisitions, corporate restructurings and capital-raising in the insurance industry, W.R. Berkley said Thursday in a statement.

Insurers have been bringing on bankers and money managers from Wall Street in recent years to help them contend with regulatory challenges and pressure from low interest rates on investment portfolios. Lincoln National Corp. hired Goldman Sachs Group Inc.’s Ellen Cooper in 2012 as chief investment officer, and New York Life Insurance Co. named Barclays Plc’s Saad Khalil as head of M&A in 2015.

The industry has turned to dealmaking over the past year as insurers seek to gain scale to combat increased competition. Property-and-casualty insurer Ace Ltd. closed a $28 billion agreement this year to buy Chubb Corp. to help it compete with rivals including American International Group Inc. and Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc.

Abbey “brings a wealth of experience and capabilities to the organization that will add breadth to our financial team,” Chief Executive Officer W. Robert Berkley Jr. said in the statement.

Abbey received a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and economics from Dartmouth College. W.R. Berkley, which was founded in 1967, writes commercial coverage and provides both insurance and reinsurance.

Michael Hovey, who served as co-head of North American insurance investment banking with Abbey at Morgan Stanley, will take over as sole head of that group, Mary Claire Delaney, a spokeswoman for the bank, said in an e-mail.