Two long-established, Black Country companies have joined forces to form one of the largest independent, regional insurance broking firms in the West Midlands.
The deal brings together Ault Insurance Brokers, who have traded in West Bromwich for more than 100 years and M. J. Pearson, from Willenhall, who were set up in the 1960s.
The company will trade under the name of Ault Insurance Brokers from Tuesdayand will have a combined premium income of some £12 million a year.
Ault Insurance Brokers also has a strong independent financial-services arm, which will now serve both client groups.
Chairman Richard Ault, third generation of the family to head the Ault company, said: "We are extremely proud of our heritage, but we are also a forward-looking company and this alliance now gives us the springboard to build on our advantage." Ault's managing director John Tew said his company had been looking for some time to find another Midlands broker with all the right qualities to form a strategic alliance.
"It has not been an easy task, but we have waited patiently, done extensive research and then when we started discussions with Pearsons, we knew at once we had found the ideal solution to the first phase of our long-term plan for growth."
He added: "The critical mass we now enjoy as a major, independent regional broker will give us even more influence with all the mainstream insurers and that, in turn, will benefit our clients with a comprehensive and competitive product offering."
The team at Pearsons, led by managing director Jackie Boucher and head of operations Stewart Hall, will move to new corporate headquarters at Kinder House, in Lombard Street, West Bromwich, where the expanded company will have a total of 42 employees.
Ms Boucher, daughter of the late Alan Newman, founder of Pearsons, takes on the role of compliance manager in the new organisation while Mr Hall, becomes senior account manager for the existing Pearson clients.
"The insurance industry has experienced considerable change and rationalisation in the past year and as a result smaller brokers are finding it increasingly difficult to retain agencies with the major insurers and this will impact on their competitiveness," said Ms Boucher.
"The industry has seen the Financial Services Act come into force in January and many small brokers just will not have the resources to become and remain compliant with all the new requirements."