Lead Forensics
New Podcast with Antony Erotocritou, CEO of Ardonagh Specialty


Journey to Specialty – tracing Ardonagh’s ambitious expansion

03.08.23 AdvantageGo

The latest Voice of Insurance podcast features Antony Erotocritou, CEO of Ardonagh Specialty, a business that has grown exponentially with major acquisitions in recent years.

The amount of insurance and reinsurance broker mergers and acquisitions activity in recent years has been remarkable. Consolidation and reconsolidation, along with the usual carousel of teams moving and market veterans launching startup intermediaries. Any broker castaway on a desert island in 2015 would have a tough time working out which brands are still in the market and who owns what now.

One intermediary perhaps more than any other, Ardonagh, has blazed an acquisitional trail in the past eight years, from its origins in the debt-for-equity swap for the troubled UK retail consolidator Towergate in 2015, to becoming the largest independent specialty broker in the London market today.

The London market broking group has been on a journey to build its specialty and international operations in particular, which included 2021’s transformational deal to buy the newly-formed Corant Global Group, comprising the brokers Ed and Besso. Ardonagh Specialty has consolidated its many brands into Price Forbes and Bishopsgate.

Much of the firm’s expansion has been told through the press. Media coverage of the firm’s rise – both  transactional and organic – has been chequered, as host Mark Geoghegan points out, charting leavers or defections as much as its big picture acquisitions.

This is the context for the latest Voice of Insurance Podcast conversation, with Antony Erotocritou, CEO of Ardonagh Specialty, giving the inside story on the broker’s rise to prominence. As Mark noted, there’s a lot to learn and plenty of myths to be exploded.

“We’ve always had real focus on organic growth, despite all the integration and acquisitions. At Ardonagh, we talk about three pillars: organic; inorganic; and operational excellence,” Erotocritou said.

“Despite all the acquisitions that people may see, we have a very strong new business retention focus. We have a very strong outside-in focus looking at talent. We also have a phenomenal equity plan that sits across the organisation, which we’ve all shared in. All these pieces coming together make us quite a formidable organisation,” he said.

Not that the acquisitions are likely to stop.

“We’re not going to slow down on the investment side; I think that’s a given. The interesting thing is we’ve spent a lot of our time getting the platform ready for success operationally,” he said.

“This integration of the current global businesses has enabled us to have a phenomenal set of results, we have long term capital behind us, I can see us continuing to drive the in-organic parts, and our organic excellence is really good. We had double digit growth for each one, a large portion of that was organic”, he said.

Therefore, “connecting the dots” is essential, he noted, building bench strength in depth for the five energy teams and four casualty teams. Joining the dots globally has been the focus of many of the teams acquired by Ardonagh, such as Ed Broking, and Mark posed this question of global specialty ambitions to Erotocritou.

“We’ve already got a number of wholesale international businesses. I see a real focus in Asia Pacific; we’ve got a Singaporean business, and I see Singapore being an area we will continue to invest in,” he said. “I don’t want to put flags up everywhere globally. We are becoming more of a global broker, excluding the US; we’re not going to do anything in the US.”

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