A century-old regional financial services firm undergoes a digital revamp
PUBLISHED: 18:10 31 July 2018 | UPDATED: 10:00 02 August 2018
A financial services company with offices in Ipswich, Diss, Colchester and Cambridge is starting a new chapter in its 99-year history by giving its brand a makeover.
Scrutton Bland, which can trace it roots back to an insurance broker business founded at the end of the First World War, has grown considerably over recent years and now has a turnover of £12m. Last year, Scrutton Bland branched out into a new office in Cambridge and while at the time they had 190 employees, today that figure is 218, with a further 10 positions currently advertised.
The name Scrutton Bland was once synonymous with accountancy and insurance, but the company has spent the last few years expanding its services and now offers a range of financial services to both business and private clients.
Scrutton Bland’s marketing and development director Erica Gilson explained that because the company is increasingly moving client communications and brand promotion online, and particularly through social media, it needed a “cleaner, more modern, optimistic and bright” colour palette which would work well on screen. “We had a traditional look using dark blue and gold, which tended to look mustardy online, and our new colours are orange and a brighter blue,” she explained. “I am really proud of what we (the marketing team) have delivered. It is more than a refresh of the logo – all the late nights, early mornings and weekends have been worth it. We have consolidated five separate websites, images and tones of voice to create a website where clients can access multiple services and understand who we are and what we offer.”
The focus on digital is also motivated by a recent announcement by HMRC of their intention to ‘Make Tax Digital’ which in the future will require companies to submit their return digitally via approved software. “We have just taken on a new hire in our accounting department, Ryan Percy, to drive forward our cloud accounting solutions,” Ms Gilson explained.
Scrutton Bland has brought its different business units under the Group brand umbrella, and their Diss based operation, Merrick Hill, which Scrutton Bland has operated for the last 15 years, will also now be rebranded under the Scrutton Bland name and logo.
The history of a name
The ‘Scrutton’ in the financial services company Scrutton Bland dates back to the partnership of Alfred Scrutton and Francis Goodchild, who founded the firm in 1919 to help men returning from the Great War with their tax concerns.
Two of Mr Scrutton’s brothers had died in the war, and his sister Eva, who was a nurse, died in 1919 when the Spanish influenza epidemic swept the country.
A strict Methodist and a Freemason, Mr Scrutton was a teetotaler, although his grandson Tean admitted that “he did lapse a bit in his later years.” His routine was to follow lunch with a half hour’s nap in the office, when the staff had to tiptoe past his door.
In 1990, the two firms of Scrutton, Goodchild and Sanderson (in Ipswich) and Bland Fielden (in Colchester) merged to create Scrutton Bland. In 2014, the firm’s Ipswich offices were moved to Fitzroy House on the site of Ipswich’s Temperance Hall, built in 1839 under the auspices of the teetotal movement – an appropriate nod to Alfred Scrutton, who would surely have approved of the group’s development.