First Niagara Risk Management to Purchase Hatch Leonard Naples

First Niagara Risk Management Inc., the wholly-owned insurance subsidiary of First Niagara Bank and its parent First Niagara Financial Group, Inc. has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Hatch Leonard Naples Inc. the largest insurance agency in Rochester and among the top agencies in Buffalo and Syracuse.

Following the completion of the transaction, Hatch Leonard Naples will merge with First Niagara Risk Management to create one of upstate New York’s largest insurance agencies. The acquisition is expected to close July 31, 2005.

Similar to First Niagara, Hatch Leonard Naples specializes in commercial insurance, surety bonds, workers’ compensation, employee benefits and personal insurance.

At the close of the transaction, Hatch Leonard Naples will be
merged with First Niagara Risk Management. The combined agency will operate under the direction of current Hatch Leonard Naples’ CEO,
Gerard Wenzke. First Niagara Risk Management Chief Executive Officer, John Hoffman, will become the chairman of the agency’s board of directors.

Hatch Leonard Naples was established in 1910 and serves more than 1,100 businesses and 4,000 individuals throughout Upstate New York. Its offices are located in Rochester, Buffalo, Syracuse, Albany and Plattsburgh. The agency’s revenue in 2004 exceeded $17 million.

First Niagara Risk Management’s product line includes personal and
commercial insurance, surety bonds, risk management, employee benefits and administration and life, disability and long-term care coverage.

Current annual revenue exceeds $22 million and the agency has office locations that stretch across the state including Buffalo, Newfane, Rochester, Ithaca, Hudson and Albany.

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Greater Risk Management Role coming to securities Market

Regulators will force securities and futures exchanges to take a bigger role in risk management, Deutsche Boerse AG’s Reto Francioni said.

“Markets are currently entering a new landscape,” Francioni, the chief executive officer of Frankfurt-based Deutsche Boerse, said at a conference in New York today. “The major feature of this new landscape is a trend toward re- regulation.”

Policy makers in Europe and the U.S. are overhauling the $615 trillion derivatives market and examining rules that govern equity trading. In the U.S., the Dodd-Frank Act will require most off-exchange derivatives contracts to be processed and guaranteed through third-party clearinghouses and traded on exchanges or similar systems. Transactions will be reported to trade repositories, which will allow regulators a view of the overall risk in the market.

Regulations are being put in place to address “ineffective risk management practices” and the lack of transparency about prices and the amount of risk firms face with one another, Francioni said at a conference at Baruch College.

The result will be markets that are “much more complex than the one we have gotten used to in the last 10 years,” he said. Regulation will move from national agencies to a “supranational state,” he said…read more on bloomberg