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Bet on Australia pays off for PSC-linked UK investor

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Investing in Australian insurance intermediaries has paid off for BP Marsh & Partners, a UK investor group in which PSC has a 20% stake.

The group says its investment portfolio, including a 36% stake it acquired last year in Sydney-based Ag Guard owner Agri Services, recorded an 11.1% rise in value to £115.7 million ($209.2 million) for the year to January 31.

Other Australian holdings in the portfolio are ATC Insurance Solutions (20%), MB Prestige Holdings (40%) and Sterling Insurance (19.7%). The rest of the portfolio is made up of investments in managing general agents and insurance brokers in the UK, US, Canada, Singapore and Spain.

“While these valuations pre-date the outbreak and impact of COVID-19, we believe the company and the portfolio is well positioned to manage through these unprecedented times,” Chief Investment Officer Daniel Topping said.

He says the upcoming first-half results for the six months to July will factor in the trading impact of the virus disruption, which was declared a pandemic in March by the World Health Organisation.

“The impact of the virus is being closely monitored and all investee companies have prepared response plans and proposed measures have been shared across the portfolio,” Mr Topping said.

“At this juncture, COVID-19 appears unlikely to negatively influence the portfolio as a whole in a material fashion, and we remain confident that our investment strategy and sector focus will prove resilient during this period of disruption.”

The group says its broking investments placed more than £400 million ($723.3 million) of insurance premium in the last financial year, making more than £32 million ($57.9 million) in commission income. Its managing general agencies achieved more than £538 million ($973 million) in gross written premium and £62 million ($112.1 million) in commission income.