Although Simpson & Marwick’s main offices and the overall firm will re-brand as Clyde & Co after the merger on 1 October, the company’s well-established estate agency brand will retain its identity.
Gordon Keyden, managing partner of Simpson & Marwick, insisted the merger was “good news for staff, good news for the legal profession and good news for Scotland”. The firm has 350 staff and no redundancies were planned at its Scottish offices in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen, Dundee and East Lothian, he insisted.
“This is a strategic merger, not a defensive merger that had to happen – both firms are in very good financial shape,” Keyden added. He stressed that Simpson & Marwick and Clyde & Co clients has reacted “very favourably” to the merger, which creates an insurance sector powerhouse on both sides of the Border.
James Burns, managing partner of Clyde & Co, which has 1,500 lawyers in 40 countries, said: “There has been significant consolidation in both the legal and insurance sectors and clients want firms who can carry out their business in England and Scotland. We had a hole in our insurance practice and this merger addresses that and gives clients a one-stop shop across the UK.”
Richard Louden, a residential property partner who has been with Simpson & Marwick for more than 35 years, said: “It’s business as usual. I’ve told my team and I will be telling my clients that nothing changes.”
The Simpson & Marwick signs above its property shops in Howe Street, Edinburgh, Alford Place, Aberdeen and High Street, North Berwick, will remain, which will please those who have mourned the disappearance of long-standing Scottish legal marques like McGrigors, which merged with Pinsent Masons) and Dundas & Wilson – now part of CMS – in recent years.
“This is a good deal for our business in London too,” said Burns. “We now have coverage across the UK and that is very attractive to our younger recruits, several of whom have already asked about the opportunity of working in Scotland.”
Clyde & Co said the merged firm will “provide property and casualty insurers with an unrivalled and comprehensive service across both England and Scotland, particularly in casualty, healthcare and professional lines”.
Its global head of insurance, Simon Konsta, said: “The UK is one of the most important insurance markets in the world.
“As the market continues to consolidate here, it is increasingly important that we have the scale to meet the needs of our insurance sector clients across the board. Simpson & Marwick is the market leading firm in Scotland in insurance and has a practice that meshes well with our practices in London and other UK offices.”
Clyde & Co was founded in 1933 by a Scot, Richard Arthur Clyde, whose family produced two Lords President of the Court of Session in Scotland.