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The merger bid between national insurance firm Berrymans Lace Mawer and Bristol firm Cartwrights has broken down following this week’s announcement that Cartwrights’insurance department is to form an independent partnership.The creation of a four-partner independent firm Cartwrights Insurance Partners (CIP) leaves the 11-partner corporate and and commercial teams free to move to south west firm Bond Pearce, which has courted the teams for several months.“A merger with Bond Pearce was never going to go anywhere,” said Richard Ottley, a partner at CIP. “There were too many obvious conflicts for it to work.”However, he stated that, after consultation with the firm’s clients, they decided not to join a larger insurance set-up.“Our clients feel that we are better off as an independent outfit,” he said. “The feedback is that they want us to stay as we are.”The decision will come as a blow to Berrymans, a firm that is recovering from the more than 19 partner defections that took place across the firm’s offices last year.However, a spokesman for Berrymans stated that talks were still on track. “From our side the situation remains unchanged,” he said.Cartwrights Insurance Partners has opted not to have a managing partner or senior partner. The partners, David Vernalls, Deborah Bradley, Richard Ottley and Ian Poole, will all have equal weight within the firm.They employ 12 other fee-earners and have teams working on both high value and high volume cases.

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