How did your career in insurance begin?
Honestly? It was the only job available at the Job Centre! I was 17, I knew nothing about insurance.
I took the job at Swinton Insurance dealing with private lines, and I loved it. I stayed for six years before moving on to Griffiths & Armour, where I worked for ten years.
And how did it continue?
I met Gary Spengler, and we got on like a house on fire. I loved the story of what he was aiming to do with the business, and my skill set and ambition seemed to fit with his plans. We agreed a plan to grow and expand the business which included bringing in my own team. After a couple of years, we had exceeded Gary’s expectations and he appointed me as Managing Director and a shareholder.
What brought you to JM Glendinning?
We were looking to structure a management buyout at Butterworth Spengler. Gary had decided to sell his shares, and several other shareholders decided the time was right for them to move on, too. We were aware of JM Glendinning and Synova, and arranged to have a conversation. Within an hour of meeting Tim Johnson and Nick Houghton I knew we’d met the kind of people we wanted work with. We are all keen to grow our businesses, and we share the same ethos and approach to looking after clients, our teams and dealing with insurers. There were such strong synergies between the two businesses, and it felt like a natural fit.
What do you enjoy about your role?
I like change, and I like challenge, and in my role I get to deal with plenty of both! I thrive on finding solutions, and on having ideas and then working with the team agreeing how to put them successfully into play.
What’s the secret to your success?
Other than good luck and good timing? Working hard and appreciating and supporting others.
I have surrounded myself with some of the best people and I let them get on and do their job without unnecessary interference. I’d like to think I can spot opportunities fairly quickly and I’m not afraid to take a risk knowing I have a great team working with me.
What advice would you give to someone starting their career?
Firstly, be ambitious and courageous, work towards a plan. Don’t be afraid to aim high and as you rise through the ranks your expectations will rise so modify the plan and make it more stretching.
Secondly, study and learn as much as you can. You can never have too much knowledge. Spending that time building your knowledge and working those extra hours is an investment in your career, it will pay dividends in the long run.
What’s next for Butterworth Spengler?
Growth. This is the start of an exciting new chapter for our business. With the support of the JM Glendinning Group, my aim is to take the strong foundations that Gary Spengler – and his father and grandfather before him – created and add my own ideas to help grow the business and the team.
What JM Glendinning Group CEO, Nick Houghton, says:
“It’s often said, but not always followed by some, that insurance brokers only have one real asset and that’s the people. You have to build your plans for the business around the team. John and the team have a great business and lots of opportunities to grow it. Working together and investing in the business I know we can grow Butterworth Spengler significantly over the coming years. It’s always an honour when great people choose to work with you, and we are delighted to have the whole team on board.”