Consolidator will retain John Charcol brand, its London office, and promises no redundancies

Towergate won against a mystery bidder to scoop mortgage broker John Charcol in a deal sealed this week.

But Towergate chief executive Andy Homer said the deal was “a one-off” and did not signal plans to start consolidating mortgage brokers.

John Charcol, a well-known brand specialising in high net worth mortgages, had recently entered administration. Homer refused to confirm the price, but said it had been a “very good deal”.

Given that Towergate acquired the business from its administrators, the figure is likely to have been a fraction of the £50m it was originally put on the market for in 2008.

A second bidder was involved, Insurance Times understands.

John Charcol will join the Towergate Financial Group, run by Ian Derby. Derby was formerly chief executive of John Charcol and is understood to have been the driving force behind the acquisition.

Homer said Towergate would look for cross-selling opportunities for high net worth customers. He said: “It’s a perfect fit for us.”

Asked if he was likely to acquire more mortgage brokers, Homer said: “We are not interested in bog-standard anything – bog-standard mortgages would be a complete anathema.”

Homer said that the John Charcol brand would be retained, there would be no redundancies among the 100 staff, and the central London office would remain open.

John Charcol currently has a general insurance arm, which acts as an introducer for another broker, believed to be Lark Insurance. It is understood that Towergate will bring the general insurance business in-house.

Towergate has a network of independent financial advisers in its Towergate Finance division. Major expansion plans for this part of the business were scaled back last year because of the recession, when the division was incorporated into the parent group and its chairman, former Aviva chief executive Patrick Snowball, stood down.