This Wakefield firm has pursued an aggressive growth strategy, buying up more than 20 insurance broking firms in less than four years to give it a national spread from Aberdeen to central London and southeast England. Three-quarters of Oval’s sales come from brokering insurance for corporate clients, and from other financial services, including payroll, benefit schemes and pension administration. It works with the likes of Norwich Union and Royal & Sun Alliance but also advises private individuals. Led by managing director Jeff Herdman, chief executive Philip Hodson and finance director Simon Shaw, the company recently signed up former Barclays Bank veteran Oliver Stocken as its chairman. Oval is backed by Caledonia Investment, and its sales have grown 71% a year from an annualised £12.1m in 2004 to £60m in 2007.
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