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New US wholesale firm attracts investors, veteran leadership team


Private equity firm B.P. Marsh & Partners P.L.C. is investing $6 million in XPT Group L.L.C., a recently formed specialty firm led by industry veteran Tom Ruggieri that is looking to expand in the U.S. wholesale insurance market.

The London-based investment firm will take a 35% stake in XPT through its B.P. Marsh (North America) Ltd. subsidiary.

New York-based XPT is in active discussions with several parties over potential minority or majority investments into established entities in the U.S. wholesale insurance arena, B.P. Marsh said Monday in a statement. 

The management team at XPT includes Mr. Ruggieri, who most recently headed Cooper Gay Swett & Crawford Ltd.'s North American operations before its sale to BB&T Insurance Holdings Inc. last year; and Mark Smith, former president and CEO of Stewart Smith, the U.S. wholesaler that was sold by the former Willis Group Holdings P.L.C. to AmWINS Group Inc. in 2005, according to the statement.

The team also includes Jeff Heath, the founder of Heath Group, and Mason Power, former chief operating officer and chief marketing officer at Swett & Crawford, where he worked with Mr. Ruggieri. Mr. Power also worked at Advisen, which was founded by Mr. Ruggieri, according to the statement.

B.P. Marsh said it believes that XPT “is well-positioned to take advantage of the significant consolidation opportunities in the small-to-medium-sized wholesale space in the U.S.”

“We are pleased to be back in the U.S. with an investment in XPT,” B.P. Marsh Chairman Brian Marsh said in a statement. “Our business is in backing people and the founders of XPT have impeccable credentials, deep industry knowledge and great ambition. We are excited by the opportunities presented in partnering with them and in the US market in general and look forward to growing XPT alongside them.”