Oval’s Phillip Hodson is a consolidator boss who likes to negotiate and do things properly – while staying out of the limelight

In recent years, he has endured very public declarations of ambition from rival Chris Giles through talk of a possible Charterhouse-backed transformational deal. During that time, Hodson has kept his counsel. His public message has been steadfast and simple: he wants to remain independent, no doubt despite ongoing talks.

In the meantime, Oval has carefully acquired like-minded brokers, with the deals financed through a mixture of private equity backing and close insurer relations. Throughout the intense speculation and economic downturn, Hodson has continued to reassure and shore up his teams and senior management. He has spoken out only to position the business favourably and to dismiss rumours. His most recent message was to paint a picture of a possible flotation in 2012.

This week, however, along with the news of the acquisition of Gloucester-based broker J L Fisher & Co, Hodson has revealed that he has appointed consultant Rothschild to look five years ahead. The finding is that, owing to an unclear economic outlook, the timetable for any possible public listing has been pushed back to 2015, and that he may just be able to make a transformational deal all of his own. It is another marker in the sand, but will the other consolidators follow suit?

Chief execs’ pay should be open to view

It is a surprise but certainly no shock to find that the pay packets of insurer bosses are considerably smaller than their banking counterparts. The fat cat bankers have faced relentless scrutiny and exposure from the press and the regulators – and the whole financial services industry has been tarnished. The main conclusion to be reached is

the need for greater transparency, focused especially on the remuneration, including bonuses, of bankers at the very top. This week we provide you with a snapshot comparison of insurer chief executives’ pay; we also look at pay against performance, despite the limited information available publicly. Insurer pay, while smaller beer than that of bankers, is still significant. Given the public perception – and despite public lobbying from the ABI to the contrary – why shouldn’t insurers face the same kind of transparency? IT