Butterworth Spengler – nine months on


We spoke to MD John Lacey to find out how the first nine months have been for him and his team.

Tell us how Butterworth Spengler became part of the JMG group

We were looking to structure a management buyout at Butterworth Spengler. The major shareholder had decided to sell his shares, and several other shareholders decided the time was right for them to move on, too. I had big plans for the company and was keen to find a solution that would allow me to continue running and growing the business with the right backing and support.

Enter Tim Johnson and Nick Houghton: we had a conversation, and straight away I got a very good feeling about JMG, which quickly turned into concrete discussions around how they could help facilitate an MBO and bring Butterworth Spengler into the JMG group.

What was it about JMG that appealed to you and the business?

We were already aware of JM Glendinning and Synova, and I knew the group was on a growth journey. But the biggest thing for me was that, once I’d met Tim and Nick, I could see that we were like-minded people with a very similar approach to running our respective businesses, and ambitious growth plans.

What was the acquisition process like?

I’d never experienced it before, and I’d heard horror stories from friends who’d been through similar experiences. I’m pleased to say that my experience has been completely the opposite.

It’s hard work, but the JMG team are so pragmatic, easy to deal with, and so commercially minded. They delivered everything they promised – and more. There’s not one thing I would change, and I couldn’t be happier.

Nine months in: how’s everything going?

Honestly? It couldn’t be better. It’s so refreshing to work with people who are so supportive and be part of a company that really looks after you.

Joining JMG has helped us up our game. We knew we wanted to grow, and this has turbo charged it. We had potential acquisitions on the table, and now we have the financial backing and clout to make them happen. It’s making things happen quicker and more easily: we completed our first acquisition – Brunsdon Insurance – in September 2021, and there are more in the pipeline.

Being part of the group has given me more time to concentrate on growing the business, knowing I’ve got a rock-solid team behind me. It’s a dream come true, and I could not be happier.

What’s next for Butterworth Spengler?

The future is growth, growth, growth, but it’s not just about growing the business. It’s also about growing the team and focusing on their professional development so we can be among the best in the industry. We want the best people in the market to come and work for us. It’s always been my view that to become the broker of choice we need to be the employer of choice, and that’s a big focus for us.

Another key focus is further acquisitions, here in the North West and also in the South West through the networks that have opened up now that we have Brunsdon on board. We are speaking to brokers in both areas who have expressed interested in joining the business, and 2022 is shaping up to be a big year for us.