Jelf says Clark Thomson puts them in a dominant position in Scotland but says there are still gaps that need to be filled.

Jelf chief executive, Phil Barton says he is very happy with the acquisition of Clark Thomson, saying it is a “perfect fit,” but he says that Jelf has more gaps to fill, both geographically and capability-wise.

Marsh and Jelf announced the acquisition of the Scottish independent broker this morning, after rumours circulated last week that parent company, Marsh was looking to get back into acquisitions.

Chief executive for Clark Thomson, Ben Bailey explained how the deal came about from a mutual use of Worcester-based consultancy firm, Hamilton Bond.

He said: “We came together through our joint use of Hamilton Bond, a claims consultant that Jelf acquired, and the more we talked, the more we discovered how similar we were.”

Clark Thomson brings a greater scale, having grown consistently over the past few years, most recently posting an almost 50% increase in EBITDA for the year ending 31 March 2017 compared to the same period of time the previous year.

It also brings a greater Scottish presence for Jelf, as chief executive, Phil Barton explains.

He said: “The fabulous thing about this acquisition is the complimentary presentation of our presence in Scotland. Jelf was primarily in the central belt, while Clark Thomson has offices in almost all of the other towns in Scotland, such as Perth, Dundee etc. It really fits with our operation in Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen.

Barton also explained that the deal took “many years” to be completed, saying the company wanted to integrate Bluefin before completing another big acquisition.

He continued: “We’ve been talking with Ben and the leadership team at Clark Thomson for a number of years. We very much wanted to focus on integrating Bluefin and creating that solid platform before we got back on the acquisition trail.”

So what sealed the deal for Clark Thomson?

Bailey explained what made the deal so appealing.

He said: “The integration was key. Jelf had been around a long time, Clark Thomson had been around for 50+ years. I don’t think either was in a hurry to do the deal until the conditions were right because when it comes to acquisitions, integration is absolutely king.

“Clark Thomson has a good reputation of organic growth, we have kept that going through all the discussion, and we hope to bring that to the larger business in Scotland.”

Bailey will now lead a team from the combined businesses of Clark Thomson, Jelf, Bluefin and CIS, who Jelf acquired back in 2014.

So, now Marsh is back in the acquisition trail, can we expect more acquisitions?

Barton continued: “If you look at our geography, there are areas where we are under-represented in. So that is something we would like to satisfy, either through organic growth or acquisitions.

“That said, our focus is to bring Clark Thomson into the family, to use that as a springboard for growth in Scotland and to focus on organic growth primarily throughout the rest of the UK.”