Bowmark Capital, the mid-market private equity firm, is backing the merger of Aston Scott with Lark Group to create one of the UK’s top 20 independent commercial insurance brokers and employee benefits practices. The transaction is subject to approval by the Financial Conduct Authority.

On a combined basis, the merged group will have around 600 staff placing more than £250 million worth of gross written premium from 18 offices across the UK.

Bowmark originally backed the management buy-out of Aston Scott in May 2015, supporting the company in pursuing a buy-and-build strategy to take advantage of the highly fragmented UK insurance broking market, which comprises more than 3,000 active regional brokers. The merged group will be well placed to continue this strategy, as well as delivering the broad product coverage and enhanced operational efficiency that underwriters are increasingly seeking.

The senior management and shareholders in both groups are fully committed to further developing the enlarged group and to providing new opportunities for staff. Both businesses have attained the Chartered Insurance Institute Corporate Chartered status and have long-established track records.

Peter Blanc, Aston Scott group chief executive, said: “Joining forces with Lark will create an incredibly strong presence in the UK insurance broking market.  Both management teams share a passion for the service and integrity that our markets demand.”

Lark Group managing director, Stephen Lark, added: “There are so many opportunities in commercial insurance broking, private client broking and employee benefits that can be increased with scale. The merger of Aston Scott and Lark creates a compelling platform from which to realise those opportunities.”

Bowmark partner, David Torbet, commented: “Bringing Aston Scott and Lark together is a transformational deal which will create one of the leading independent broking groups in the UK. We are delighted to be working in partnership with the combined management team to deliver the next stage of growth.”

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