Today's Viewpoint: A MarshBerry Publication

November 2023 UK Market Monthly Update

Financial services are globalising. Our coming together with MarshBerry, with its 200 staff spread across five offices in the US and further offices in the Netherlands, Germany and France, was driven by the recognition that Merger & Acquisition activity is increasingly reflecting  cross-border opportunities in operations and capital flows. So, advisers need to expand their footprint accordingly. Being part of MarshBerry has given us global reach.

But whilst the sector is globalising, the details of just how this is happening very much depends on the particular activity. In commercial insurance broking, we have been introducing major US buyers to UK businesses that are thinking about their next phase of ownership. Most of these buyers have simply not been on the radar of such companies. In personal lines insurance, one of our clients has seen keen buyer interest from Continental Europe, where many buyers regard the UK market as more mature than their home market and the way Europe, albeit slowly, is moving.

The asset management industry – including in alternative assets – has for a long time been very international in its activities and ownership, while wealth management has largely remained the domain of more regionally focused and indeed often quite local businesses, albeit the sector is showing tentative signs of becoming more international in the wake of its rapid consolidation.

Given the wide disparity of interest between buyers across diverse markets, reaching the right buyers on a global basis is possible only with detailed knowledge of, and relationships with, a multitude of buyers. Together with MarshBerry, we offer over 40 years of M&A experience and 200 staff, to provide comprehensive and global solutions to our clients on the ground in the UK, Continental Europa and North America.


November was a relatively quiet month in terms of the volume of new UK insurance M&A activity, with only eight new transactions to report on this month, but it was a notable month from a deal value point of view – there have only been five UK insurance distribution deals in 2023 (to date) with a value above £100m, but two of these were announced in November.

The most headline grabbing deal of the month was the acquisition of Romero Group, including both Romero Insurance Brokers and Club Insure, by AssuredPartners. The deal is AssuredPartners’ largest in the UK to date and will catapult them into the Top50 Brokers listing from 2024. The transaction was not AssuredPartners only deal in November, with a separate announcement that they had acquired Atom Insurance Brokers in Taunton coming only a few days after news of the Romero deal and further bolstering AssuredPartners’ strong position in the South West.

There were three other transactions in commercial broking in the month, from three separate but regular acquirers. Clear Group further increased its tally of deals for 2023 with the acquisition of Peter Hoare (Insurance Brokers) in Sheffield, Brown & Brown (Europe) subsidiary Green Insurance Group announced a deal for NSure in Worthing, and community broker Dickson & Co. Insurance announced that it had acquired fellow Northern Irish broker Kerr Insurance in a combination that will create one of the largest brokers in Northern Ireland, with more than 150 staff.

It was a relatively busy month on the personal lines side, with three new deals to report on. It was reported that Primary Group had sold a controlling interest in Qmetric Group, better known through its Policy Expert trading style, to the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, an existing minority investor in the business (since 2021). Bspoke Insurance Group, the PE-backed MGA group that includes the former UK General Insurance and Precision Partnership businesses, announced a deal for various personal lines business from Police & Forces Mutual, which is now part of Royal London. Finally, Peter Cullum’s The Broker Investment Group took a 49% stake in Sale Insurance Services, a broker focused on arranging cover for individuals and small businesses who have previously been refused or struggled to find insurance.


M&A activity in the sector was primarily driven by dealmaking amongst wealth managers. Titan Wealth continued its M&A drive with the purchase of Bristol-based Aspira Corporate Solutions, increasing its AUM by £4bn, with the deal being announced shortly after the FCA authorised Parthenon Capital’s majority investment in Titan Wealth itself. Fairstone expanded its geographic footprint to several new regions, adding £500m in client assets with the acquisitions of Hampshire-based Station Financial IFA, County Durham-based Advanced Financial Services, and Norfolk-based Allen Tomas & Co. Perspective Financial Group added £205m in client assets in its 20th acquisition of the year with Chelmsford-based Primera Wealth Management. Foster Denovo announced two acquisitions during the month, taking on the employee benefits business of Punter Southall Aspire and £110m in client assets with the purchase of Hampshire-based Creative Financial Solutions. Lumin Wealth announced it had acquired Buckinghamshire-based B W Financial Consultants, adding £95m in AUM, while Fairey Associates announced it had purchased Norfolk-based Tailored Retirement & Investments Planning, adding £100m in client assets.

In Scotland, Canaccord Genuity Wealth Management acquired Glasgow-based Intelligent Capital, adding £220m in client assets to its recently acquired Adam & Co businesses. Loyal North acquired Galashiels-based Sovereign Financial Services with £60m in client assets, and Edinburgh-based Calton Wealth Management announced its first acquisition after buying Linlithgow-based Morrison Personalised Wealth Management.

Evelyn Partners bolstered its strategy of growing its professional services division by acquiring Kent-based accountancy firm Creaseys. The transaction perimeter excluded Creaseys’ advice arm, Creaseys Wealth, which was sold separately to Cooper Parry Wealth, who initially set up the joint venture with Creaseys back in 2015. As well as the £220m of client assets added in the transaction, Cooper Parry Wealth also acquired Chamberlyns, a Luton-based IFA with £250m of client assets, resulting in Cooper Parry Wealth’s total client assets exceeding £1.3bn.

There was also a spur of activity involving investment managers during the month, with Courtiers buying Norwich-based Brunswick Investment Management, adding £105m of AUM, and Premier Miton buying equities boutique Tellworth Investments, adding £559m of AUM. Toronto-based Manulife Investment Management acquired London-based multi-sector credit manager CQS and Amber River purchased a majority stake in adviser-focussed TAM Asset Management with just under £650m of AUM.

Elsewhere in the sector, wealth management firm Credo announced a merger with South African investment solutions provider Anchor and Royal London announced the acquisitions of later life lending and product specialists Responsible Life and Responsible Lending. In the Fintech space, financial services review and rating sites VouchedFor and AKG were acquired by Fintel. It was reported that Picton Property Income would be merging with investment trust UK Commercial Property (“UKCM”) however this was later blocked by Phoenix Life, UKCM’s majority shareholder.

Contact Olly Laughton-Scott
If you have questions about Today's ViewPoint, or would like to learn more about how MarshBerry can help your firm determine its path forward, please email or call Olly Laughton-Scott, Managing Director, at +44 (0)20 7444 4392.

MarshBerry continues to be the #1 sell side advisor in the industry (as ranked by S&P Global). If you’re considering selling your firm, we are the best choice to help you through the complicated process. If you don’t hire MarshBerry, hire a reputable advisor that can help you navigate one of the most important business decisions you will ever make. You will be much better off having an advisor in your corner that knows the industry than trying to do this on your own.