Stable ownership and £150m war chest give green light for expansion, says risk MD

JLT Specialty is actively looking for bolt-on acquisitions and says it can comfortably fund them from its existing £150m facility.

Warren Downey, md of JLT Speciality’s new risk practice division said that it was looking at niche players but had “not yet found anything that has come to conclusion”.

“There are a range of brokers out there who are highly leveraged. We have relatively small net debt and out funding facilities would take care of anything we wanted to do. I can’t say it will be by the end of 2012 but we are actively looking.”

The new risk practice of 260 people was formed with the aim of bringing the risk managed/ London market business closer to the regional distribution network. As part of the changes, client facing execs were given specialist areas to focus on, but the market facing brokers have kept a more general remit.

Also as part of the growth mission the division opened new offices in Nottingham and Reading this year and expects to open more, adding to existing locations in Birmingham, Leeds, London, Manchester and Southampton.

JLT is 40% owned by conglomerate trading company Jardine Matheson, which increased its shareholding from 30% in November 2011.

The risk practice is looking to “broaden and deepen” its areas of expertise which include technology/ media, life sciences, transport, food and drink and complex risks.

‘We have a stable shareholding, providing a good platform for growth. The objective to do an acquisition is a bad objective, but we are aware of what’s out there because we want to acquire. We’re looking for specialists. We don’t see the need for the distraction of transformational acquisition,” Downey said.