RELINQUISHING the independence of a firm with a history stretching back more than half a century is not a decision the shareholders of Clark Thomson will have arrived at easily. However, listening to Clark Thomson managing director Ben Bailey and Jelf counterpart Phil Barton expound upon the merits of the takeover, the case for the deal as a vehicle to satisfy the ambitions of both parties is certainly compelling.

It is often an initial to reaction to news of takeovers to consider the implications for jobs, especially in these uncertain economic times. But in this case the primary motivation would appear to be about expansion, not cost reduction.

Clark Thomson has gradually built a 200-strong team across eight offices, many of which are in provincial towns.

Protecting that legacy will have been paramount in the minds of the former owners and they look to have received the assurances they needed.

Indeed, whereas an ambitious acquiring company may view such locations as an inconvenience, Jelf sees Clark’s geographical footprint as a virtue, with the complementary fit of the two organisations a key attraction to the deal.

Both parties also feel the respective service offered by the two organisations dovetails. Mr Barton highlighted Clark Thomson’s strength in sectors such as agriculture, renewables and food and drink, which would augment Jelf’s offer.

Crucially, Mr Barton emphasised the commonality of culture between Clark Thomson and Jelf, both community brokers, which at the very least will have smoothed the way during talks.

Broader factors will have influenced the appeal of the deal too.

As Mr Barton said, the need to invest in technology, the “demographics of proprietors” and the “barrier” of regulation mean that consolidation is very much part of the insurance story at present.