‘I have the funds’ to buy three businesses worth £5m in the North West, says Duffy

Former Towergate Agency Management managing director Stephen Duffy plans to set up a group of independent brokers in the North West of England offering commercial and personal lines, Insurance Times can reveal.

Duffy, who is a director of Gladstone Underwriting Agency, has ambitious plans to acquire three brokers worth a combined income of £5m by the end of June.

Over the next five years, he plans to grow the group into a business with gross written premium of £25m and 40-50 staff across one or two offices in the Manchester region, having identified nine potential targets.

Duffy, who left Towergate at the end of 2008, revealed he has been in talks with three brokers and hopes to have acquired one this week and the other two shortly after.

“The plan is to create a regional broker providing a professional service to the local community,” Duffy said. “I have the funds in place and want to acquire at least three businesses this year. I have nearly completed due diligence on one business and I am well down the road with two more.”

He said his target acquisitions were intermediaries with established and ageing principals with no real legacy, some of whom had been approached by the big consolidators such as Towergate but didn’t want to speak to them due to wanting to maintain their identity.

Duffy is also planning to build a strong executive team and to secure the services of a “big hitter” to develop the business and give it more credibility.

Pass notes: Duffy’s regional broker plans

What will be the impact on the larger consolidators?
Duffy may have pipped some of his bigger competitors to the post in the North West market, but there are still plenty of viable takeover targets out there. The new broker group will also provide a boost for local businesses and individuals looking to maintain their existing relationships.

Who will Duffy be looking to get on board in his executive team?
Given his Towergate connections, it wouldn’t be a surprise if one or some of Duffy’s former colleagues turned up
at his new venture.