Saturday 21 September 2019

Woodbrook to establish new Irish insurance arm

Michael Doherty, who heads up Woodbrook
Michael Doherty, who heads up Woodbrook

Michael Cogley

Cyprus-based financial services company Woodbrook Group is to establish a new Irish insurance arm, the company's chief executive has said.

Woodbrook, headed up by Waterford man Michael Doherty, is in late-stage negotiations with two Irish brokerages. Deals for the two businesses make up part of the group's planned €100m spend in Ireland, he claimed.

Doherty has ambitious plans for the business and said the group will look to employ up to 1,500 people here within the next four years.

"We're very interested in the Irish market. What we're looking to do is buy small brokerages there, ones that are regulated by the Irish financial regulator, and then re-brand them," he said.

"Then we're also looking at a life insurance company, similar to that of Quinn Life."

Woodbrook's Irish arm will originally start off offering wealth-management services and pension planning before it begins its insurance business.

"Over the next two years, you're looking at an investment of €100m, between the acquisitions, getting the actuaries and building the life insurance," Doherty said.

"Once we're regulated and have licences in Ireland and we can see that it's working properly, we can passport directly into Europe but we'll always keep the headquarters back in Ireland. That's what I'll be looking to do."

The company employs around 150 people and boasts $2bn (€1.75bn) worth of assets under management. Numerous acquisitions in Germany and the Netherlands have helped the company grow since it was established five years ago. Another deal for a Dubai-based firm is also understood to be nearly finished.

Woodbrook announced last week its intention to list on the Nasdaq stock exchange in the US over the coming weeks. The Sunday Independent has learned that the company has purchased a US business called NHPI and will use it to perform a "reverse public offering".

Doherty said the business will list with a market capitalisation of around $50m (€44m). He will remain the major shareholder.

Sunday Indo Business

Also in Business