We are not for sale, chief executive Alway reassures staff

Jelf chief executive Alex Alway has moved quickly to allay fears of a takeover by rival broker Giles Insurance following its deal with private-equity investor Charterhouse.

As both consolidators continued to buy up smaller firms this week, Alway issued a statement to all Jelf Group staff, making it clear the company was not up for sale, and had its own acquisition fund.

The move follows bullish comments by his opposite number Chris Giles, who said in last week’s issue of Insurance Times that he planned a swoop on Jelf and fellow consolidator Oval after securing a £500m war chest.

Gina Dixon, managing director of Jelf Insurance Brokers, told Insurance Times that the statement made by Giles forced Alway to make the announcement.

She said: “I suppose as Giles’s aspirations are to buy us, maybe our aspiration is to buy Giles.”

Jelf is believed to have access to a significant proportion of a £700m fund, following the recent investment in the group by 3i QPE.

Meanwhile, both brokers have continued their acquisition sprees. Jelf has bought Okehampton based commercial broker Bob Gee & Co.

The broker, which has premiums of around £1.4m, joins Paignton based Bartlett Davies Bicks and Carter Risk Management of Newton Abbot as Jelf’s latest acquisitions in the region.

Les Brewin, distribution development director at Jelf, said: “This acquisition represents another important piece in the jigsaw following our other recent acquisitions in Devon, and further enhances our position as the fastest growing insurance broking business in the West.”

Giles has made three acquisitions providing at least £15m in premium income. Birmingham-based Midland Risk Management, Robinson Leslie of Chester and DS Howell of Tonyrefail in Wales have all been brought into the Giles group.