Insurance broker buys advice firm to enter mortgage market

Insurance broker buys advice firm to enter mortgage market
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Howden Broking, a UK-headquartered insurance broker and provider of employee benefits advice, has bought advice firm SPF Private Clients in order to break into the mortgage market.

The value of the deal, which is still subject to regulatory approval, was not disclosed in an update published today (April 12) by the two firms. Mark Harris, SPF’s chief executive, will remain in his position following the deal completion.

Howden’s existing offering covers general insurance through its high street brand ‘A-Plan’ which operates 110 branches, as well as wealth management. The latter business focuses on high-net-worth and private clients.

SPF’s advisers also cover wealth management and insurance broking, alongside mortgages. The firm employs 180 people across offices in London, Oxford, Bath, Cambridge, Manchester and Guernsey.

Meanwhile, Howden Broking is part of the international Howden group, which owns businesses throughout Asia, Africa, Latin America, the Pacific and the Middle East, as well as Europe.

The acquirer said its latest deal underlines its commitment to invest in the UK economy, and to boost client access to “high-quality and personal advice”. 

Last year, Howden bought insurance broker Aston Lark and combined it with its existing UK business. SPF is also set to join its UK business.

The firm envisions the creation of “a full-spectrum British broker with unrivalled reach and access”.

SPF was formed back in 2011 following a management buyout and rebrand of Savills Private Finance, the financial arm of Savills plc, before Cabot Square Capital acquired a majority stake in SPF in 2018. 

The broker specialises in residential and commercial mortgage broking, life assurance and associated wealth management consulting, as well as insurance covering commercial real estate, property titles and high-net-worth personal lines.

Carl Shuker, Howden UK & Ireland’s chief executive, said SPF was a “stand-out business in its sector”.

He continued: “Both businesses share cultures that are founded on entrepreneurialism and empowerment, and both are passionate about delivering the very best outcomes for our clients. 

“With SPF, the recent acquisition of A-Plan and the upcoming completion of Aston Lark, Howden UK & Ireland will be a leading end-to-end insurance distributor capable of supporting all of our clients, whatever their insurance and mortgage needs, underpinned by market-leading digital and data capability.”

Harris added that SPF will benefit from the “significant opportunities” that being part of Howden will deliver, particularly in selling its debt product lines across the group. 

“We will carry on doing what we do best, ultimately enabling us to develop products to best serve our clients while allowing our talent to flourish,” said Harris.