Wednesday, 3 June 2015

Scottish Friendly Takes Over Britain's Oldest Company

One of my former lives involved a research role in a Mayfair-based Executive Search company, headhunting for top roles like Chief Executives and Directors, a job that involved keeping a keen eye on the business news.  These days it's not as much of a priority for me, but one story that has caught my attention is the recent takeover of Marine & General by Glasgow-based mutual Scottish Friendly.

Marine & General is Britain's oldest company and has the company registration number 00000006.  It was founded in 1852 as the UK Temperance & General Provident Association to offer cheaper life assurance to seamen who were teetotal.  It later extended "the benefits of Life Assurance to all (whether Mariners or Passengers) who have to undergo the perils of the ocean."  Some early customers included several passengers on the Titanic in 1912.  The first five firms that were registered no longer exist, making the now-named M&GM Britain's oldest company.

Scottish Friendly itself was established in 1862 as the City of Glasgow Friendly Society and changed its name in October 1992, when it took over Scottish Friendly Assurance.  This deal to take over the UK's oldest active registered company is Scottish Friendly's largest takeover to date, and doubles its assets under management to more than £2 billion.

The deal happened after M&GM reported they were seeking transfer to another organisation to secure its long-term future.  M&GM members voted overwhelmingly in favour of the takeover, and all M&GM policy holders have become members of Scottish Friendly as part of the deal.  Scottish Friendly members also unanimously approved the deal.

Fiona McBain, Scottish Friendly’s chief executive said:

"We are delighted to welcome M&GM policyholders and members to Scottish Friendly. The addition of M&GM business to Scottish Friendly is a tangible outcome of our strategy to diversify and grow the business for the benefit of all our policyholders. The takeover of M&GM has doubled Scottish Friendly’s assets under management to over £2 billion and will give us additional economies of scale that can drive further efficiencies and increased value to all of our policyholders, including those transferring from M&GM."

For more information about the companies and the takeover, read this Daily Record article.

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