We’ll offer £1.5m at first – but only if you’re more Tiffany than Tesco, says Alpine boss

A consortium of financial heavyweights has set up a company that plans to make big investments in the general insurance sector.

Alpine Risk Services, backed by a number of institutional investors including private equity firm Alcuin Capital Partners, has recently launched with the aim of taking minority and majority stakes in brokers, managing general agents and other related firms such as outsourcing or head-hunting businesses.

The company is led by Francis de Zulueta, who was business development director at BP Marsh & Partners, a venture capital company listed on the Alternative Investment Market. He has also worked for global brokers Marsh, Willis and Aon.

De Zulueta said his company planned to support privately owned insurance businesses in the UK and Europe and would offer initial funding of up to £1.5m. Further funding of up to £5m and £10m could also be made available.

“We are not a bank for people who just want to prop up their business,” he said. “We are looking at people who have focus and ambition.

“We are very flexible in what we are looking at but the key thing for us is good management; we are more interested in being Tiffany than Tesco.”

He said the firm would back management buy-outs and acquisitions, and provide capital to increase growth.

“Finding the money is obviously not easy but finding the money together with operational experience is very valuable to people,” he added.

The firm also has a strong advisory panel. Members include Michael Chartres, a partner in chartered accountant CLB Littlejohn Frazer, Richard Horton, former group finance director of Lloyd’s broker Hyperion, Steven Rimmer, who has several non-executive positions in the financial services sector, and Pankaj Lakhani, financial director of Admiral Underwriting Agencies and former financial controller of Nelson Hurst, Marsh Group and Citicorp Insurance Brokers.

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