Fee and commission income (2004): £149m.

Pre-tax profit (2004): £4m

Address: 1 Regent Street

Newtownards, Co Down

N Ireland BT23 4AB.

Tel: 028 9182 4581

Fax: 028 9182 4548

Email: gareth.brady@openanddirect.com

Website: www.openanddirect.com
Year established: 2000

History: Open + Direct Insurance Group is a fast growing niche insurance intermediary. It has experienced particular success following a management buy-out in May 2002, backed by Alchemy Partners.

Open + Direct Insurance Group consists of two separate operations, Footman James and Open + Direct Insurance. Footman James is recognised as a market leader in a number of specialist vehicle sectors in the UK, including classic cars and motorcycles. Open + Direct Insurance is one of the leading personal lines insurance brokers in Northern Ireland. It also provides a wide range of commercial lines products to the SME sector.

Major shareholders: Alchemy Partners, management team

Main lines of business: Footman James - specialist vehicle personal lines and commercial lines broker. Open + direct insurance - general personal lines and commercial lines broker.

Number of UK branches: Footman James - 1, Open + Direct - 6

Subsidiary companies: Footman James, Open + Direct Insurance

Number of UK employees (average for 2002): 250

Chief officer: Gareth Brady, managing director

Biography: Gareth Brady, a chartered accountant, originally trained with Ernst & Young, gaining experience in corporate finance. In 2000, he joined the Open + Direct Group to manage the group's acquisition programme.

He then successfully managed the integration of the acquired Northern Ireland businesses under the Open + Direct brand name. In 2001, he became joint managing director of Open + Direct Insurance Group. He was instrumental in securing private equity funding for the management buy-out of Open + Direct Group in May of that year.