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D2 Corporate Solutions grows English business

A GLASGOW insurance brokerage founded 12 years ago is defying the trend towards consolidation and driving further into the English market.

D2 Corporate Solutions, based in Paisley, expects to expand its staff from 24 to 30 as it builds on a successful platform in the north-east of England and targets Manchester.

Last month US corporate broking giant Lockton stepped up the turf war in the Scottish market with a major expansion of its existing operation including a new office in Glasgow, saying there was "significant untapped demand" across a range of industries.

David McGinnigle, who co-founded d2 with Derek Templeton in 2002, said the swallowing up of smaller firms by the likes of Glasgow-based Giles, now part of US giant Gallagher , had helped the start-up.

"A lot of the owner-managed businesses were owned by people in their fifties…and one or two of the well-known players were quite aggressive in taking out a lot of the competition. We are looking to expand and grow our business, but organically, we are not interested in acquisition."

D2 has found its original commercial insurance business supported by the recovering economy, while its six-year-old offshoot d2 Financial Solutions is making a well-timed run at the pensions auto-enrolment market.

"Our core business was originally manufacturing and engineering-type businesses," Mr McGinnigle said. "Despite all the doom and gloom, there are still some good quality businesses here that are doing well."

The firm now also has a strong position in construction and a healthy client base in the food and drink sector among others.

The co-founder, who like his business partner cut his teeth in roles with industry leaders including Aon, says a push across the Border has paid off, the region now delivering around a quarter of turnover.

"We have always found competition in Scotland is fierce, but slightly less so in the north-east of England," Mr McGinnigle said.

Now he is driving d2 into Manchester, and believes that will contribute to a 25 per cent uplift in headcount in the not too distant future. "There has been a lot of turmoil," Mr McGinnigle said, noting that leading player Towergate was routing some acquired brokerage business through call centres.

"There are also new products coming out such as cyber-insurance. I am not saying clients are beating a path to our door for it, but it is one for the future."

The financial solutions arm has found plenty of opportunity in pensions auto-enrolment. "A lot of businesses have completely underestimated the amount of work and responsibility that is needed, " Mr McGinnigle said, adding that one leading market player had found itself over-extended and had already shut its doors to new business.

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