Scot­tish in­sur­ance bro­ker snapped up by top con­sul­tancy

● ‘Eight-fig­ure’ deal sees 53-year-old Clark Thom­son re­lin­quish in­de­pen­dence

The Scotsman - - Business - By MARTIN FLANA­GAN

Clark Thom­son, Scot­land’s largest in­de­pen­dent in­sur­ance bro­ker, has been snapped up by one of the UK’S big­gest op­er­a­tors in the sec­tor to sharply ex­tend its foot­print north of the Bor­der.

The price of the ac­qui­si­tion by Jelf, an in­sur­ance con­sul­tancy which is part of Marsh, a global leader in in­sur­ance broking and risk man­age­ment so­lu­tions, is thought to run “into eight fig­ures”, sug­gest­ing dou­ble-digit mil­lions, say in­dus­try in­sid­ers. Jelf and Clark Thom­son were not dis­clos­ing the fi­nan­cial terms yes­ter­day.

Es­tab­lished in 1965, Clark Thom­son has its HQ in Perth and of­fices in Dundee, Glas­gow, In­ver­ness, El­gin, Oban, Kirk­wall, Thurso and Nairn, and em­ploys more than 200.

The Scot­tish group pro­vides in­sur­ance broking to smaller busi­nesses (SMES), with par­tic­u­lar ex­per­tise in the agri­cul­ture, re­new­able en­ergy, food and drink and re­tail sec­tors, as well as pro­vid­ing per­sonal lines in­sur­ance for in­di­vid­u­als and fam­i­lies.

In the year to end-march 2017, Clark Thom­son’s turnover rose 12 per cent to £11.18m. Jelf ’s rev­enues are not split out from Marsh’s re­sults.

Phil Bar­ton, chief ex­ec­u­tive of Jelf, told The Scots­man: “We have am­bi­tions to be the most sig­nif­i­cant player in Scot­land, where we were un­der-rep­re­sented even though hav­ing of­fices in­clud­ing Aberdeen, Glas­gow,ed­in­burghand­some other sites.

“Clark Thom­son is a prize as­set, a great busi­ness with a great her­itage, and we are thrilled. There is a great fit in cul­ture and foot­print.”

He added that the com­bined busi­ness will offer clients “a com­pelling propo­si­tion across a wide range of in­sur­ance, risk man­age­ment and em­ployee benefits ser­vices and so­lu­tions”.

The com­bined Scot­tish busi­ness will, sub­ject to reg­u­la­tory ap­provals, be led by Ben Bai­ley, MD of Clark Thom­son, and a man­age­ment team drawn from both com­pa­nies.

Bai­ley said: “This deal is great news for our clients and col­leagues alike. Through Jelf, our clients will have ac­cess to a wider range of ser­vices and so­lu­tions, while col­leagues will ben­e­fit from be­ing part of Marsh’s wider global net­work.

“I look for­ward to bring­ing Jelfand­clark­thom­son’sop­er­a­tions to­gether, and build­ing the lead­ing ad­vi­sory busi­ness in Scot­land.”

On the ra­tio­nale for Clark Thom­son giv­ing up its in­de­pen­dence, Bai­ley said that it had built a great client list “but we were at the point where we wanted to pro­vide ex­tra ser­vices for them, par­tic­u­larly em­ployee benefits and spe­cific risk man­age­ment”.

Jelf has al­most 3,000 staff in the UK serv­ing more than 250,000 clients, many of them SMES, from over 75 locations.

Bar­ton added that he and Bai­ley had known each other more than five years, but ten­ta­tive in­for­mal talks about a po­ten­tial merger be­gan two years ago. “Those talks have ac­cel­er­ated. Frankly, we don’t make ac­qui­si­tions in a hurry, we want to un­der­stand the busi­ness,” he said.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.