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In-house: Former Aviva leader Risam lands at Blackstone wealth management firm

The highly-regarded former Aviva UK Life general counsel (GC) Monica Risam has joined Luxembourg wealth-structuring company Lombard International Assurance as its Europe GC.

Risam (pictured) will lead a multi-disciplinary team of about 60 people across legal, regulatory affairs, company secretariat, risk and compliance at the company, which is owned by private equity giant Blackstone Group and has €74.6bn in assets under management. Risam will join the executive committee and report to Lombard Europe chief executive Axel Hörger.

Commenting on her move, Risam said Lombard was a leader in its sector and a company going through a lot of change while being backed by Blackstone, which acquired the business for €399m in 2014.

‘It’s an organisation that’s truly exciting,’ Risam said. ‘They are a very well-known brand in their particular space.’

Hörger added Risam’s experience would be indispensable during a time of ongoing and rapid regulatory and fiscal change across Europe: ‘Her global outlook will be a considerable asset to Lombard International as we continue to grow our business internationally in an increasingly complex environment.”

Risam was widely cited for her role in making Aviva’s highly-regarded legal team a pacesetter for the in-house profession, but left the FTSE 100 insurer last year after six years at the company . She had most recently served as GC for Aviva UK Life since 2015 where she was responsible for all aspects of legal risk management and transactional activity across the business and leading a legal and company secretarial team of over 60 across UK and Ireland.

Aviva appointed former Bupa UK legal director Alison Gammon as its UK Insurance GC following the departures of Risam and Tim Vickers, who led Aviva’s General Insurance legal team.

Aviva has brought its UK Life Assurance and UK General Insurance businesses together as UK Insurance, with Gammon now heading the combined legal team. Prior to joining Bupa in 2013 and becoming its UK legal director in 2015, Gammon worked at Legal & General as international legal director for nine years and was a senior associate in Allen & Overy’s financial institutions team.