Specialist divisions growing as staff look to leave consolidators for employee-owned business

The retail arm of R K Harrison is on track to post 9% growth this year after developing its specialty lines and affinity business.

Managing director Stuart Rootham said R K Harrison Insurance Services was on target to grow its turnover to £21m in the year to 30 June 2014, which will be the fifth consecutive year of growth for the retail arm of the broking group.

The broker has developed seven trading divisions, comprising private wealth and commercial disciplines; private clients specialising in high-net-worth, rural, fine art, corporate, professional risks, real estate and contingency.

Rootham said: “Each of those seven divisions is specialist in its nature. We don’t try to be all things to all people, but by working hard to be a specialist we aim for a leading position in each area we operate in.”

Rootham said the broker’s highly skilled staff in its growing specialist teams had been attracted by the opportunity to earn equity through its earnout employee ownership model.

“We continue to attract talent and recycle talent to broaden the equity base in a growing business,” he added.

“The ability to participate in equity is the key way in which we can attract and retain the best talent. That is why we feel very bullish about the future opportunities in the UK space.”

“The latest round of consolidation is dramatically changing the broking landscape again and those firms are not for everybody. We are seeing quite a lot of staff fallout from these consolidator businesses - so effectively we think we are one of a number brokers that have something really exciting to offer strong talent that is looking for a different type of environment to work in.”

Plans for growth

Rootham said RK Harrison would look for investment from parent company RKH Holdings and acquisitions to grow further.

“We have now entered into a period where the desire from the group to invest materially in the UK retail arm is really strong,” he said.

“The wider group has the financial strength to invest in the UK retail business.”

Simon Trott has also been brought in to drive the growth in the specialist lines and affinity schemes for the UK retail arm.

The former Towergate sales and services chief executive, who started at RKH last month, will oversee the development of new specialist products, schemes and services across the broker’s private wealth and commercial divisions.

Rootham said RKH is still planning  which markets it to enter. “There is a patience to make sure new opportunities are given time to achieve their potential.

“We know Simon has a great deal of knowledge and a track record building specialty product business and overseeing a number of direct schemes.

“Those are skills we feel we need in our business to further exploit the opportunities that exist.”