Broker happy to continue sale talks

Broker Lucas Fettes has reopened the door to talks with Oval, after it pulled the plug on the consolidator’s attempts to acquire the business last month.

Brett Sainty, director of Lucas Fettes, revealed the £50m GWP London-based broker had entered due diligence with Oval, and the deal came as close as it could to being completed.

“We felt that we would have been selling for the wrong reasons at the time,” he said. “Our last period of trading was our most profitable and a lot of directors questioned why we were selling.

“But we have not shut the door and we would be happy to speak to Oval again, the same as with anyone that wanted to speak to us.”

Sainty admitted that there were some concerns among directors over how the two businesses would work together.

“There was a concern that their model may have been different to us and in changing that it may have had a negative impact on our renewal retention,” he said.

“It seemed the more people we watched sell, the more inclined we became to remain independent for the time being.”

Meanwhile, Lucas Fettes is set to expand its Norwich office, which is currently dominated by its financial services division.

Its office currently holds 26 staff and the broker is planning to add a further 10 over the next year in an attempt to grow its general insurance offering in the Eastern region.

It will also launch a new product that specialises in agricultural machinery business, and allow access to the Lloyd’s market.

Sainty said: “We have got an opportunity to cross-sell between our financial services and our general insurance business. The offering to the Norwich community would be a little different to what is already there.”