Fee and commission income (2003): £131m.

Pre-tax profit (2003): £2m

Address: 4-6 Ripon Road, Harrogate

North Yorkshire HG1 2HH

Tel: 01423 522431

Fax: 01423 523467

Email: paul.meehan@smartandcook.co.uk

Website: www.smartandcook.co.uk
Year established: 1968

History: Smart and Cook aims to provide professional insurance broking and financial advice of the highest standards. Since its establishment, it has grown consistently, partly through client recommendation and professional introduction and partly by planned acquisitions, but has never lost sight of this founding philosophy.

As one of the UK's leading independently-owned insurance broking and financial services organisations, Smart and Cook serves a wide range of corporate businesses, including professional practices, financial institutions and public limited companies as well as private clients.

Today's continually changing environment has placed increased demands on businesses and individuals alike. As a consequence, professional advice has never been so important.

Major shareholders: Directors, 3i

Main lines of business: General insurance, financial services, consulting/risk management and credit insurance consultancy.

Number of UK branches: 13

Subsidiary companies: Smart and Cook Group Ltd; Smart and Cook Ltd; Smart and Cook Consulting Ltd; Smart and Cook Financial Services Ltd; Smart & Cook Holdings Ltd; Credit Insurance Consultants Ltd.

Number of UK employees (average for 2003): 340

Chief officers: Geoff Cook, chairman, and Paul Meehan, managing director

Biography: Geoff Cook started his career at Norwich Union in 1961, from school, where he met John Smart. Together they founded Smart and Cook Ltd in May 1968.

Cook won the Fred Sugden prize for the highest marks in the Fellowship in Yorkshire in 1968 and based his new business in Knaresborough.

In 1991, he acquired John Smart's shares in Smart and Cook to secure the ability to grow his business. He has overseen the creation of the second largest independent brokerage in the UK through a combination of acquisition and organic growth, working closely with group managing director Paul Meehan.

He puts the Smart and Cook formula down to absolute attention to detail, strict financial disciplines, budgeting and planning.

Biography: Paul Meehan joined Smart and Cook in June 1987 (the brokerage was then less than £1m, with 23 employees.) He became group managing director in June 1991.

He transformed the company into a multi-site business (13 offices, 340 staff) increasing brokerage to over £16.8m by acquisition and team creation to what is now one of the top two independent brokerages in the UK.

- Elected chairman of the North Eastern region of Biba in 1994, Meehan reduced the committee's average age by ten years to bring about a fresh approach to representation in the region

- Elected a councillor to the IBRC in 1995 and with other committee members steered and influenced the Insurance Brokers' Registration Act.

Chaired disciplinary committee for three years

- Founder member of the Broker Alliance Ltd in 1997 and became the first and current chairman

- Heavily involved personally in support of children's charities, particularly Children In Need, for which he has raised in excess of £75,000.