Omega joins the big boys on the main London Stock Exchange market space

<div>OMEGA Insurance, the Lloyd&rsquo;s of London underwriter, has ascended to the main market of the London Stock Exchange, after it last week boosted its control of Lloyds&rsquo; successful Syndicate 958.<br /><br />The insurer yesterday left the smaller Aim space to join bigger rivals on the main market, and is now one of seven non-life insurers on the junior exchange. It joined the major-league space with a market value of &pound;310m. Shares tend to rise in price as they move up the market cap league, as each shift automatically gains them a new raft of passive investors like index-tracking pension funds.<br /><br />Group head Richard Tolliday has recently been taking an aggressive approach and last week completed plans to double the firm&rsquo;s stake in the highly successful Syndicate 958, which has turned underwriting profits every year since its 1980 formation.<br /><br />The plans were particularly bold as he acquired the capacity on the syndicate from Lloyds Names, secretive private investors on the market from whose hands it is notoriously difficult to prise capacity.<br /><br />And the group raised &pound;130m from markets in January at the depths of the recession, to fund expansion plans and boost capital levels.<br /><br />Since it was listed in 2005, Omega has carried out a series of fund raisings totalling around &pound;250m, to expand its business and capitalise operations in Bermuda and US.<br /><br /><strong>CONOR HILLERY<br /><br />JP MORGAN CAZENOVE</strong><br /><br />When a shift to the London Stock Exchange&rsquo;s (LSE) main list looked to be on the cards, Omega elected to hire sector expert and investment banking giant JP Morgan Cazenove (JPM Caz) to act as its sponsor for the market move.<br /><br />And the insurer didn&rsquo;t stop there, with Omega appointing the heavyweight bank as joint broker for its shares, alongside its long-standing existing broker Cenkos, in March.<br /><br />Leading the team that now advises Omega is Conor Hillery, the JPM Caz expert who advised on Lloyd&rsquo;s of London group Brit Insurance&rsquo;s&nbsp;rejected bid for smaller rival Chaucer last month.<br /><br />Irish-born financial heavyweight Hillery is JPM Caz&rsquo;s corporate finance&nbsp;division managing director for Europe, the middle-east and Africa.<br /><br />Educated at University College Dublin, Hillery qualified as an&nbsp;accountant at the Irish offices of Big Four accountancy giant KPMG.<br /><br />He then ditched Dublin to spend the last 10 years in London &ndash; eight of which have been at JP Morgan and related subsidiaries.<br /><br />A keen golfer, Hillery played a key role in the integration of US banking giant JP Morgan&rsquo;s UK investment banking operations and UK group Cazenove in 2004.</div>