Lycetts, as the company is now universally recognised, was established in Newcastle in 1961 as Wright Deen Lycett Limited by our Life President, Michael Lycett, with the help of Sir Ralph Carr-Ellison and Lloyds brokers, Wright Deen. Shortly after the firm was set up, Wright Deen Lycett took offices in Newcastle’s historic Milburn House, which still remains the group’s head office.
It was Michael Lycett’s intention that the business should be based on three divisions. To that end he was joined in 1962 by John Browne-Swinburne, who was responsible for starting a financial services department and in 1970 by Robin Douglass, an experienced commercial broker who complemented Michael Lycett’s expertise in that sector.
In 1973, the company changed its name to Lycett, Browne-Swinburne & Douglass Ltd. Shortly afterwards, Edward Nicholl, previously with Willis Faber & Dumas in London, returned to the north east to develop the farm and estate side of the business.
Upon Michael Lycett’s retirement in 1976, John Browne-Swinburne became managing director, a role he subsequently combined with that of Chairman. In 1994, the company adopted the trading name of Lycetts and continued to develop according to its core principles of finding the right people in the right places to give the best possible service to clients.
John handed over the role of Managing Director to Edward Nicholl in 1992 and that of Chairman in 2002. During the 1990s, Lycetts developed its nationwide network from its Newcastle base through the creation of offices in Oxford, Norfolk, Aberdeen, Sussex, Edinburgh and latterly Exeter and Shropshire. Growth was mainly attributable to the expansion of the company into the farm and estate sector through this network of offices, with commercial insurance and financial services being predominantly traded from the Newcastle office.
Although initially based in Newcastle both the Commercial division and Lycetts Financial Services share the nationwide client base successfully enabling the company to provide mutual support to clients across the range of disciplines. In recent years the Commercial division has expanded with a southern administrative and client management hub in Woking in Surrey and representation in Essex, Edinburgh, Fakenham and Oxford. Similarly the Financial Services team has expanded with advisers in Edinburgh and London.
With a highly experienced and technical broking team the Commercial division has developed a broad array of clients.
Financial Services has developed a niche expertise in providing advice to rural businesses and estate clients as well as the mainstream corporate and private sectors.
In 2003, Lycetts acquired the specialist animal trade insurance broker Cliverton, which now operates as a separate trading division of Lycetts. Cliverton was established in 1973 and has developed various insurance schemes to cover a range of animal-related industries, and also for rural businesses and smallholdings.
Lycetts made a further addition to its business in 2005 when it acquired Woking-based Algarve Insurance Brokers Ltd. Algarve represented an ideal acquisition to support Lycetts stated aim to maintain its position as the leading independent broker in the rural sector, given its expertise in the insurance of tree surgeons, arboriculturalists and foresters.
The acquisition, in October 2006, of The Hydra Group, including Hamilton and Partners – market leaders in the bloodstock sector represents the next stage in Lycetts strategy to develop further into niche markets.
On the 1st May 2007 Angus Keate suceeded Edward Nicholl as chief executive of Lycetts.
In June 2008 Lycetts acquired the Marlborough based Bloodstock and Stud Investment Company, BASIC. This office now provides a base in the South and West for Lycetts Bloodstock operations.
Then in August 2008 Lycetts made yet another addition to the business when they acquired City based broker Carroll Foley Lloyd Limited. CFL, established in 1992, specialises in high and mid net worth household insurance in London and the South East.
In 2011 Lycetts acquired Farmers and Mercantile Insurance Brokers Ltd (FMIB), who operate from their head office in Sywell, Northamptonshire, with subsidiary offices in Ayr, Ludlow and at Newby Hall, near Ripon in North Yorkshire. FMIB has a long established reputation in the farming sector and continues to develop its nationwide portfolio of business in this sector while operating as a separate entity.
After ten years at the helm Angus Keate took on the role of Deputy Chairman and handed over the role of Chief Executive to Charles Foster, who previously held the post of Head of the Rural Division having run the Norfolk office since 1991.
The key to Lycetts’ success has been balance – not only in the insurance expertise on which the business is based, but also in the advice given. Clients seek a balanced opinion on most problems, based on sound professional knowledge, experience and common sense. In order to achieve this balanced view, Lycetts employs brokers with a wide experience in life, not just insurance broking. At Lycetts, staff are encouraged to take on community commitments, such as becoming magistrates or school governors and also to work hard and play hard.
The aim of the founders of Lycetts was twofold: to provide first class insurance advice and to provide careers for promising individuals who would contribute to the running of their local communities. These principles continue to prevail in the ongoing development of the company.