Mercer is the world's largest human resources consulting firm. Headquartered in New York City, Mercer has more than 20,500 employees, is based in more than 40 countries, and operates internationally in more than 130 countries. Mercer is a subsidiary of global professional services firm Marsh & McLennan.
Started in the United States in 1937 as the employee benefits department of Marsh & McLennan, Inc., the company took the name of “William M. Mercer” in 1959, when Marsh & McLennan acquired William M. Mercer Limited, a Canadian firm founded by William Manson Mercer in Vancouver in 1945. In 1959, Mercer became a wholly owned subsidiary of Marsh & McLennan Companies, Inc. In 2002, its name was changed to Mercer Human Resource Consulting.
In 2004, the company acquired Houston, TX-based Synhrgy HR Technologies, a human resources technology and outsourcing services company. Also in 2004, Mercer admitted giving the NYSE board a compensation report that contained "omissions and inaccuracies" that led to a $139.5 million pay package for former NYSE Chairman Richard Grasso. Mercer had been brought in to advise the stock exchange on Grasso's 2003 contract and his request for $139.5 million. The consultancy returned $440,000 in fees it collected from the NYSE and provided key documents in the lawsuit.
In 2007, the company became simply "Mercer." Also in 2007, Mercer acquired Höfer Vorsorge-Management, a German actuarial and retirement consulting firm. At the time, the acquisition reportedly gave Mercer the top market position in Germany.
In 2008, Mercer's Italian human capital consulting business merged with Tesi, an Italian competitor. The combined business, Mercer Tesi was noted at the time to be the largest HR consultancy in Italy.
In 2010, Mercer acquired ORC Worldwide, an expert in international work assignments. Also in 2010, Mercer acquired Brecksville, Ohio-based Innovative Process Administration LLC (IPA), a health benefits and technology provider.
In 2011, Mercer acquired Fort Lauderdale, FL-based Mahoney & Associates, a defined contribution plan provider. Also in 2011, Mercer acquired Alicia Smith & Associates, a Washington DC-based Medicaid policy consulting firm.
In 2013, Mercer acquired British Columbia-based Hall Consulting Limited (HCL), an HR consultant and salary surveyor focusing on the mining and energy business. Also in 2013, Mercer acquired PricewaterhouseCoopers' pension windup (termination) administration business in Canada. Also in 2013, Mercer acquired Global Remuneration Solutions (GRS), a South African compensation and benefits survey data and rewards information provider.
In 2014, Mercer acquired Norwell, MA-based Transition Assist, a private health care exchange specializing in coverage for Medicare-eligible retirees. Also in 2014, Mercer acquired Jeitosa Group International, a business and technology consultancy, and acquired a 34% stake in South Africa-based employee benefits specialist Alexander Forbes. Later that year, Mercer acquired Swiss private markets manager and consultant SCM, and Denarius, a Santiago, Chile-based consulting firm focused on compensation and benefits survey and information products.
In 2015, Mercer made two acquisitions. It acquired Hopkinton, MA-based Comptryx, a workforce metrics company offering surveying, modeling and analytics services, and also acquired HRBS, a provider of career and talent consulting and information services to clients across Asia, with concentrated strength in Hong Kong, Singapore and mainland China.
Since January 2013 Mercer has been organized into three geographic regions, each with a regional president: North America, EuroPac (Europe + Pacific markets of Australia and New Zealand) and Growth Markets (Asia, Africa and Latin America). Headquarters for the North American region are in New York City, for EuroPac in London, and for Growth Markets in Singapore. Less than half of the organization’s employees are based in North America.