Ari Jacobs

Aon’s Ari Jacobs is no stranger to the spotlight. He has been a regular on this list and others for his broad and consequential work in consulting.

“I started in consulting right out of college – it was a great way to balance a technical role with one that allowed for regular client contact and the opportunity to provide advice across a large range of clients,” he says of what drew him to the industry, where he is now one of its defining figures.

Jacobs has served in roles with Aon Hewitt for more than a decade, and in that time, he has developed an expertise in pension risk transfer. Indeed, he was the advisor on two of the biggest pension risk transfer deals in history with General Motors and Verizon. He left Aon briefly to work with Citigroup, creating one of the first groups inside banks that would buy pension plans from corporations. He is a regular speaker and advisor on pension issues ranging from Liability Driven Investing to how to handle freezing a pension plan.

Looking ahead, Jacobs says that now is the time for consultants to take hold of the issues in the industry and be “willing to take more risks with their clients and share the results as a true business partner.”

In many ways Jacobs is well placed to set the example by offering expertise to the growing number of legacy pension plans on how they can manage their remaining lifecycle. Risk transfer has become a critical area for investors as they work to manage long-term liabilities in a low-growth environment. Jacobs is taking a leading role in the industry as an information provider, advisor, and researcher in the field.