Howden confirms Aston Lark acquisition

Howden has reached an agreement to acquire Aston Lark from Goldman Sachs Asset Management and Bowmark Capital.

Subject to regulatory approval, the transaction marks Howden’s largest acquisition to date, creating a UK business managing over £6bn of GWP for more than 1.7 million policyholders, served by over 5,000 employees from 160 locations in the UK and Ireland.

The combined business will cover specialist personal lines, commercial, schemes and affinity, health and benefits, corporate and specialty.

Upon completion, Aston Lark CEO Peter Blanc will become executive chairman of Howden’s UK retail broking operations while current A-Plan CEO, Carl Shuker will be appointed CEO of the new platform. Andy Bragoli, CEO of Howden UK, will lead Howden’s International Specialty business. The management team will report into Jose Manuel Gonzalez, CEO, Howden Broking Group.

David Howden, Howden Group CEO, said: “The completion of our UK broking platform is a deal a decade in the making and I’m thrilled that Aston Lark’s highly respected and experienced management team has chosen Howden as its final home.

“In a rapidly consolidating and technology-driven sector our commitment to employee ownership, unique structure, scale, distribution breadth and data-led approach stand out, and today’s announcement further enhances our position as the credible alternative of scale for clients and a magnet for the very best talent in the industry.

“Not only is Aston Lark the missing piece of our UK broking strategy but our new strengthened platform signals a new beginning for the Group, accelerating our significant international ambitions by bringing a fresh and energetic dynamic to all our markets and even greater value to our clients.”

Peter Blanc, group CEO of Aston Lark, added: “I’ve always been determined to make sure that the business we have been building in Aston Lark finds its forever home and I’m absolutely delighted to have done that through Howden. My thanks go to Goldman Sachs Asset Management and Bowmark Capital for allowing me and my management team to choose the right home for us. Together we will be the major force in the UK broking market and I’m extremely excited about what we can achieve over the coming years. Our combined products, services and footprint will enable us to capture every customer in the market.

“The Aston Lark culture of care for clients, employees and insurers resonates throughout Howden and this could not be a better fit. Our leadership team is looking forward to working with everyone at Howden as we become the very best broker in the market. We embarked on an exciting growth journey six years ago and have gone from placing £10m of premium to £1bn. We’ll continue to seek high-quality acquisitions and talented individuals to join us as we become part of this amazing story.”

Aston Lark is one of the UK’s largest independent insurance brokers specialising in complex commercial and private client insurance and employee benefit advice, placing over £1bn of gross written premiums for 200,000 clients.

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