‘Sydney is the hub and we’re keen to grow further through Asia’, Brett Field tells StrategicRISK
He may have been the head of BMS Group’s Australian operations for only a few weeks, but Brett Field already has a clear vision of how the independent broker’s Asia-Pacific operations should grow.
It’s all about employing an aggressive wholesale business and facultative strategy throughout the region, the new CEO of BMS Risk Solutions told SR over coffee recently.
“Sydney is the hub and we’re keen to grow further through Asia,” he said.
“We’ve got a core development area here with some strong associations with retail brokers, and we’re keen to broaden that.
“I also believe that there will be opportunities to expand our underwriting through the managing general agents, as well as in treaty reinsurance.
Last year, BMS expressed its intention to double in size over the subsequent four years, and Field said that expansion efforts in APAC were also “pretty ambitious”.
“Our plans will require us to hire more individuals over time,” he added.
Field has been busy identifying key personnel who have market support, knowledge and, in may cases, teams behind them.
“This helps to build our core strengths so we can help retail brokers who aren’t part of a global broker to compete with innovative programs and first-class backup,” he said.
“We’re really adding many strings to our bow in terms of industry and geographic expertise; it’s quite an exciting time.”
As well as its Australian operations and UK headquarters, BMS Group has offices in Bermuda, Canada and the USA from which the private, employee-owned, specialist insurance intermediary group services its clients. It is looking to make the Lloyd’s market more accessible to independent Australian retail insurance brokers.
This process began with the recruitment of ex-AON Benfield directors Glenn Kerr and Peter Tompkins, followed closely by the hiring of Field. The former Lloyd’s broker and coverholder founded specialist liability wholesaler Insurance Market Facilities, and he believes that it is this experience that appealed to BMS.
“BMS were aware of my background and client base, and my experience matched their ambitions for the region,” Field explained.
“It’s a pretty big move as a Lloyd’s broker for BMS to establish an office off-shore. I don’t think now we can expect to be sitting in a city office in London waiting for the emails to come in.
“The model is evolving, we want to offer a more local service to the retail insurance communities in the region, while still providing access to the global markets, particularly in London and Singapore, that can add real specialist value.”
“These days we have to be at the coalface to provide a good service to retail brokers, we need to sit down and work with them strategically.”
Field sees clients who he believes are becoming increasingly dissatisfied with what he calls the “homogenisation of the big brokers”.
“We want to develop strategic partnerships to enable them to have the same punch in terms of getting a programme together, whether that be through London or Singapore,” he explained.
He said that the fact that BMS doesn’t have a retail presence made it “truly independent”.
“We’ll only ever be wholesale and reinsurance; we won’t deal directly with the client,” he said.
“That way we don’t conflict with the brokers on any issues and they can feel free to involve us face to face with the client or work in the background, depending on the client and the type of risk.”
Most of the work BMS Risk Solutions is involved in at present is with clients on Australia’s east coast and in New Zealand. However, Field said that opportunities were starting to present themselves everywhere from Singapore to Myanmar.
“We want to develop contacts and our core business of corporate construction and mining, as well as plant and equipment, focussing on the east coast first then outwards from there,” he said.