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Fortis finalizes acquisition of O’Connor & Company


Brussels/Utrecht/Chicago, 1 February 2006 , Fortis, the global financial services provider, today announced it has finalized its acquisition of Chicago-based O’Connor & Company, substantially increasing its clearing services on U.S. equity, futures and options markets.

The agreement to acquire O’Connor & Company was announced November 9, 2005 and has received the necessary approvals from all regulatory agencies, exchanges and clearing organizations.

Fortis will combine its existing Chicago clearing operations with O’Connor & Company over the next several months, more than tripling its size and presence in the market. The two firms will continue to operate separately until full integration is complete. The combined firm will operate under the name Fortis Clearing US at the earliest possible time. William C. Floersch, president and CEO of O’Connor & Company, will be CEO of Fortis Clearing US. Russell Levens, CEO of Fortis Clearing Chicago, will be Chief Commercial Officer of the expanded operation.

Fortis Clearing is part of the Merchant Banking division of Fortis Bank. It is one of the largest independent third party clearers in Europe, Asia/Pacific and the U.S. and offers clearing services for the derivatives, equities, bonds and commodities markets. In addition to Chicago, Fortis Clearing has offices in Amsterdam, Frankfurt, Hong Kong, London, Singapore and Sydney with more than 500 employees worldwide. It has General Clearing Memberships in 21 exchanges and access to other major exchanges through third party relationships.

O’Connor & Company was established in Chicago in 1959 by Edmund and William O’Connor, pioneers in the derivatives industry who helped launch the Chicago Board Options Exchange. O’Connor & Company also has offices in Summit, NJ and San Francisco. Fortis started its U.S. operations in 2001 with Fortis Clearing Chicago to provide clearing services on the U.S. futures exchanges to Fortis’ global clients as well as to Chicago-based clients.

“The O’Connor & Company acquisition not only gives Fortis a much stronger role in the U.S. market, but it also represents a key part in our global growth strategy,” said Marcel Jongmans, CEO of Global Brokerage, Clearing & Custody. “O’Connor’s outstanding people and market knowledge will add significantly to our capabilities. Our goal is to provide our clients global reach with local focus and expertise, wherever we operate in the world.”

“Our clients and staff recognize the many benefits this acquisition brings, with its deeper resources, financial strength and full coverage on all major U.S. and global securities and derivatives markets,” Floersch said. “In the current environment, we are very optimistic about the level of business we will attract.”

Floersch and Levens will oversee the integration of their two operations, which is expected to be completed in the 3rd quarter. The 170 total employees will be housed in O’Connor & Company’s offices at 175 W. Jackson Blvd.

The acquisition will have no material impact on Fortis’ net profit per share.

Fortis is an international financial services provider engaged in banking and insurance. We offer our personal, business and institutional customers a comprehensive package of products and services through our own channels, in collaboration with intermediaries and through other distribution partners.
With a market capitalisation of EUR 37.34 billion (31/01/2006), Fortis ranks among the twenty largest financial institutions in Europe. Our sound solvency position, our presence in 44 countries and our dedicated, professional workforce of 56,000 enable us to combine global strength with local flexibility and provide our clients with optimum support. More information is available on

Merchant Banking is a division of Fortis Bank and manages the global relationships with banks, institutional investors, fund managers, professional traders and large international corporate accounts. Merchant Banking offers a wide range of financial products, advisory services and other customized solutions.


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