Kennedys gears up to recommend Scottish merger to partners

Insurance firm Kennedys is in early-stage tie-up talks with Scotland’s Simpson & Marwick and is preparing to put the prospect of a merger to its partners.

A merger would give Kennedys its first foothold in Scotland. Simpson & Marwick, which focuses on insurance and personal injury work, has offices in Aberdeen, Dundee, East Lothian, Edinburgh and Glasgow, as well as in London and Newcastle.

A source at Simpson Marwick told The Lawyer that although the two firms are in talks, it is still very early stages and that “any news of a merger is greatly exaggerated”.

The source added that Simpson & Marwick had enjoyed 125 years of independence and while it greatly respected what Kennedys has achieved, will only take action if compelled to by clients. “If, in this fast-moving market, clients say they want something different to what we’ve been offering, then we can’t afford to miss that bus,” said the source.

At Kennedys, management is now expected to turn to its partners by way of a vote to find out if there is enough interest to carry on the talks.

A well-placed source said: “[The two firms] are certainly talking, and I think Kennedys – i.e. [senior partner] Nick Thomas – is very keen on the idea of a merger. I don’t think it’s a done deal yet but it soon will be. Apparently the insurance clients want a one-stop service for the UK as a whole. I certainly think its odd that Kennedys lacks a presence in Scotland when it has both Irish jurisdictions.”

In October Kennedys announced that up to 72 support staff across its UK finance departments face redundancy (18 October 2012).

In October, it was also reported that Kennedys was in merger talks with aviation specialists Gates and Partners (12 October 2012).