Towergate has completed the acquisition of Southport-based Paymentshield, its largest acquisition to date.

Insurance Times revealed in October how Towergate had approached the mortgage-related GI broker with a bid worth in the region of £200m. It marks a new diversification for the broker which has traditionally targeted small insurance brokers for acquisition.

Paymentshield will operate as an independent entity alongside Towergate under the leadership of Paymentshield chief executive, Stuart Pender.

Royal & SunAlliance (R&SA) is understood to be "very happy" to have sealed an underwriting deal which will see it cover buildings and contents insurance (see page 4). Norwich Union will underwrite MPPI products and DAS will provide home emergency and legal cover.

The announcement follows the management buy-in of 2004 led by Paymentshield chief executive Stuart Pender, and represents a successful exit for Bank of Scotland Corporate, which backed the original buy-in as the single largest investor.

Pender said the company would now make an aggressive push for growth.

He said: "We have an organic and acquisition-led growth strategy, supported by the scale, skills and access to capital under the Towergate umbrella, while at the same time, retaining our independence."

Towergate executive chairman Peter Cullum called the fit with Paymentshield "excellent", adding: "It is committed to distributing through professional intermediaries, and we already have experience of providing leading insurance products to financial advisers through some of our existing operations."