First Niagara Risk Management, the insurance subsidiary of First Niagara Financial Group, has acquired Norwalk, Connecticut-based insurance brokerage, consulting and third party administration firm, Pierson & Smith (P&S).

With this acquisition, First Niagara will be entering the Connecticut and Massachusetts markets with its pending NewAlliance Bancshares, merger, which is expected to close on 15 April.

First Niagara Risk Management (FNRM) serves customers throughout its geographic footprint in New York, Pennsylvania and New England. First Niagara’s insurance and benefits consulting revenues in 2010 exceeded $51m.

Kim McGillicuddy, who is currently chief operating officer, will stay-on and Michael Watts, chairman and CEO, will continue to work with clients and the firm in a senior advisory role.

P&S and its staff will remain in its current location at 40 Richards Avenue as part of First Niagara.

Bruce Rogers, president of Pierson & Smith and executive vice presidents Fred Butler and Matt Fair will remain with the firm and will serve as First Niagara Risk Management Regional Directors of Insurance.

First Niagara said that it has selected P&S to jumpstart its strategic growth initiatives in the region due to the firm’s position of strength in the insurance business and their local in-market expertise.

First Niagara Risk Management CEO Joseph Teresi said that First Niagara selected P&S as its flagship local agency because they fit the company’s culture of high-performing insurance agencies. They provide First Niagara with the leadership and staff which will support its business through organic growth and selective acquisition within our footprint.

Terms of the acquisition, which closed on 8 April, were not disclosed.