What brought Nowell & Richards to market?
I’ve always had the long-term future of the business at the back of my mind as I’m very aware that, as a business owner, there’s only so far you can take a business on your own.
It was a generic approach from a respected corporate finance company that got the ball rolling, although I carried their letter around in my briefcase for a few months before picking up the phone to find out more!
What was it about JMG group that appealed to you and the business?
In short, it was the opportunity to work with respected, like-minded professionals with a track record of success. Opportunities like that don’t come around often.
There were so many synergies between JMG and our business: a second-generation family business with very similar ethics to us. In fact, reading the JMG company brochure was like reading our own! I’d also admired Stackhouse Poland from afar, and what a success story it had been, so after some due diligence I realised that JMG was on a journey with strong financial backing and some very good insurance professionals on board.
What was the acquisition process like?
Relatively painless! From day one I have always put good practices in place to make sure Nowell & Richards is a well-run, professional business so the acquisition process didn’t daunt me or the management team.
I had a couple of meetings with Nick and Tim, and regular calls from Nick to keep me in the loop as the deal progressed. The team was very supportive, and they ran the deal very professionally, exactly as I expected they would.
Having good advisers is key to helping things run smoothly, and we’ve had the same auditors and accountants since my MBO some 12 years previous. They know the business inside out, which also helped keep things moving swiftly.
Five months in: how’s everything going?
It’s going very well. Day to day it has been business as usual for our team, which is exactly as we planned it. There has been regular dialogue between my management team and the group management team, and great support in areas such as finance and HR.
We have also made good progress in sharing our niche services and capabilities with the various JMG group businesses, and next month we’ll be starting the transition of some of our business systems over to head office.
I know people who have sold businesses and suddenly everything changes. With JMG, everything has progressed in line with the plan we put in place from day one with no surprises, I’m pleased to say.
What’s next for your business?
More of the same, I hope! One of the most important steps is to continue the Nowell & Richards integration across the regional offices to help extend the group’s capacity and capabilities with high net worth clients. We are looking at ways in which technology can assist with our growth aspirations, too.
I am also very pleased to say that we have secured a Delegated Authority from Zurich for niche motor insurance – one of only two such arrangements they have in place. This gives us a significant competitive advantage and is a real coup, both for our business and for the wider group.