Our Credentials – experience that speaks for itself plus 36 industry award nominations

Matthew Collins

Managing Director

Matthew.collins@ascendbrokingold.co.uk  |  Office: 01245 449060  |  Mobile: 07901 551965

Matthew has 35 years broking and underwriting experience, both as part of the management team at an award-winning independent broker, as National Broking Director and UK Board member at Oval Insurance Broking and as Market Management Director at Arthur J Gallagher.

Matthew is a well-known figure within the insurance market, and, with his experience and connections, our clients benefit by being able to access specialist insurers at reduced distribution costs. Overseeing our growing sector development at Ascend, he has previously led teams that have won numerous industry awards. Matthew served on the Willis Towers Watson Networks Governance board member, helping form the future of the £500m gross premium network. Very hands on, you will find Matthew’s approach and different way of doing things very refreshing.

A Chelmsford City fan and Tottenham Hotspur season ticket holder, Matthew is married to Fiona who is a published author and they have three children together.

Matt Price

Broking Director

Matt.price@ascendbrokingold.co.uk  |  Office: 01245 975248  |  Mobile: 07841 020712

Matt has nearly 25 years of commercial insurance broking experience across independent and multinational brokers. Prior to joining Ascend, Matt worked for Willis Towers Watson as Divisional Director within the UK & Global Transportation & Marine division – specialising for 7 years in freight forwarders, hauliers, car transportation and shipping – and, for 5 years, as the senior broker within Oval Insurance Broking.

Matt has a reputation as a personable, service-driven deal maker bringing clients and insurers together for specialist wordings and products. He has overall responsibility of the group’s broking and servicing strategy.

Matt is a Leyton Orient fan and is married to Cheryl who is a TV producer with a number of well-known shows under her belt. They have 3 children.

Simon Horton

Transportation & Logistics Director

Simon.horton@ascendbrokingold.co.uk  |  Office: 01245 373626  |  Mobile: 07841 020435

Simon heads up the growing Ascend Transportation department, specialising in the haulage, car transportation, freight and associated trades. With over 20 years transportation broking experience, Simon has held a number of high profile market positions, most recently as deputy managing director at Arthur J Gallagher, Feering. Simon has a wealth of experience developing and managing exclusive schemes and facilities within the transportation sector.

Simon is well known in the Transportation market and has experience handling multi national, large complex fleet and transit arrangements, through to difficult-to-place start ups.

Simon supports Barnet FC and has been known to enjoy the odd rock concert.

Ian Lawley

Technical Director

Ian.lawley@ascendbrokingold.co.uk  |  Office: 01245 449060  |  Mobile: 07397 195739

Working at the sharp end of the business, Ian delivers insurance and claims solutions for clients. With over 30 years experience in both independent and multinational brokers, he is a trusted figure in the insurance market and his expertise has been instrumental in the development of policy wording for leading insurers Aviva, AXA, CNA, RSA, HSB and Zurich.

Ian is a member of the Willis Towers Watson Network Construction Specialist Practice Group.

David Baker

Development Executive

David.baker@ascendbrokingold.co.uk  |  Office: 01245 955340  |  Mobile: 07849 351919

David specialises in the development of new clients across all sectors. With over 20 years commercial broking experience, David has held a number of senior positions at Towergate, Lorica, Oval and FMW.

Bringing together the best of his national and independent broking experience, David is able to provide Ascend clients, from medium privately-owned businesses to public limited companies, with leading market solutions across a wide range of industry sectors,

David is an ex-professional rugby player, having played for Saracens in his younger days, before having a distinguished career at Cheshunt RFC & Braintree RFC. David is a married father of 3 daughters and spends much of his time running them to clubs.

Paul Bennett

Development Manager

Paul.bennett@ascendbrokingold.co.uk  |  Office: 01245 449060  |  Mobile: 07532 792772

Paul has a wealth of sales and development experience gained over the last 35 years within his own business, large blue chip organisations and across growing privately-owned businesses.

Paul oversees the marketing and sales strategy of Ascend and brings fresh ideas and delivery mechanisms to the business. Paul is also a qualified Mechanical Engineer and delivers his own refreshing personal strategy when it comes to engaging with new clients.

A West Ham season ticket holder, Paul also still finds time to play amateur football  – a throwback to his professional playing days in Australia in the 1970’s.

Lawrence Fuller

Senior Account Executive 

Lawrence.fuller@ascendbrokingold.co.uk  |  Office: 01245 955075  |  Mobile: 07736 956213

Lawrence began as a class 1 driver for many years and currently still holds a class 1 licence. He changed occupation to a commercial broker, specialising in the haulage insurance sector at senior positions. Now with 23 years’ experience in the industry, he has expert knowledge of the sector, not to mention the skills and understanding from being on both sides of the business, so he can give assurance to clients they are in good hands.

Lawrence has a variety of interests, from football, golf and motorcycles, to quiet nights in.

Alex Patten

Claims Manager

Alex.patten@ascendbrokingold.co.uk  |  Office: 01245 449069  

Alex heads up our claims service and has over 25 years experience dealing with transportation. construction and property accounts. She has previously worked at FMW Freight, Oval Insurance Broking & Arthur J Gallagher and is very hands on.

Overseeing the claims service delivery and leading our award-winning First Notification of Loss system, Alex is able to tailor the claims service to your requirements.

Alex keeps active playing netball and is married to Andy and they have 2 children.

Marianne Turner

Senior Claims Handler

Marianne.turner@ascendbrokingold.co.uk |  Office: 01245 449069  

Marianne joined Ascend in April 2022 and has over 20 years of Motor Insurance claims experience, having worked for Highway Insurance and RSA, handling claims ranging from AD to Personal Injury.

Marianne is married to Shaun and they have 2 children. In her spare time she enjoys spending time with her family.

Jo Phillibrown

Office Manager

Jo.phillibrown@ascendbrokingold.co.uk  |  Office: 01245 449069

Jo has over 14 years’ experience within the insurance industry.  She has previously worked at FMW, Oval Insurance Broking, Arthur J Gallagher and Aston Lark, involved in broking administration and, for the last three years, acting as a motor claims handler as well as a PA role.

Jo is married to Richard and they have a daughter.  She spends her free time walking her two English pointers, Woodstock and Peppermint Patty!

Mel Seymour

Account Handler

Mel.seymour@ascendbrokingold.co.uk  |  Office: 01245 449067  

Mel will oversee the day-to-day administration of your account and has experience as a London placement broker at Citynet Insurance Brokers and Carrol London Markets. Having decided to leave the City, Mel joined Ascend in the summer of 2019 and is an immediate contact point for your team.

Mel has been known to enjoy the occasional game of table tennis, follows Arsenal and enjoys the banter that being married to a Tottenham supporter brings to the household.

Max Collins Cert CII


Max.collins@ascendbrokingold.co.uk  |  Office: 01245 449064  

Max joined in 2017 as our first employee – as an administration assistant – and quickly progressed to the marketing team, generating leads and heading up email campaigns.

More recently, he has transferred some of these skills to the broking team where he deals with new business enquiries, renewal negotiations and client queries, whilst still developing direct sales.

Max is our leading charity fundraiser, having been part of the team that  completed a Skydive, a 7.5km mud run and a 3-day London-to-Paris bike.

A keen footballer, Max is an attacking midfielder with an eye for goal.

Eddie Carter Cert CII


Eddie.carter@ascendbrokingold.co.uk  |  Office: 01245 449065  

Eddie joined Ascend as a marketing executive in 2019 and has recently transferred to our Broking department, where he heads up new business broking and renewal negotiations.

Eddie was the first employee to come through our training academy and is following in his grandfather’s footsteps, forging a career in insurance.

In his spare time, Eddie keeps fit and is a qualified referee. A Liverpool fan, Eddie made it to the Champions League final – he just didn’t have a ticket!

Mackenzie Ward Cert CII

Operations Manager

Mackenzie.ward@ascendbrokingold.co.uk  |  Office: 01245 975251  

Mackenzie joined Ascend’s sales and marketing apprenticeship scheme in 2020, generating leads and creating different campaigns. He has more recently moved to the broking team, working to help keep processes moving seamlessly.

A PADI certified diver, Mackenzie is also a keen Liverpool fan with always something to say about the game!

Stuart Belbin Cert CII

Senior Account Executive

Stuart.belbin@ascendbrokingold.co.uk  |  Office: 01245 975263  

Stuart joined Ascend in October 2020, having previously worked at A Plan and WRS, where he developed his specialism in the commercial and charity sectors. At Ascend, Stuart leads the development of these sectors as a customer-facing account executive with experience in providing effective cost & risk management insurance solutions. He is Chartered Insurance Institute qualified (CII).

Stuart is a keen West Ham fan and likes to keep fit by running, cycling and going to the gym. Stuart has also been known to climb mountains and spent six months doing this whilst travelling around New Zealand.

Steven Gillespie

Account Executive

Steven.gillespie@ascendbrokingold.co.uk  |  Office: 01245 373655  

Steven joined Ascend in December 2021, having previously worked at Devitt Insurance for 8 years, across multiple departments including Personal Lines, High Net Worth and Commercial. He has a keen interest in the Motor Trade and Commercial insurance sectors, predominately insuring motor dealerships and MOT repair workshops, alongside their Property Owner portfolios.

Outside of work, Steven is usually occupied by doing DIY on his house in Chelmsford, whilst trying to tame a Staffordshire Bull Terrier puppy called Sonny.

Chris Buchholz

Account Executive

chris.buchholz@ascendbrokingold.co.uk  |  Mobile: 07842 021430  

Chris joined us in July 2023, having previously been developing his skills as an Account Executive elsewhere. Chris started his career in 2006 and worked with Matthew, Simon and David at Oval and Arthur J Gallagher in the broking team. Over the last 7 years, Chris worked in both a Management and Account Executive role, before taking the decision to further himself in his current role, focussing on Manufacturing and Property sectors.

In his spare time, Chris enjoys spending time with his wife and son, or can be found at any of the clay pigeon shooting grounds local to him.

Freddy Crowe

Marketing Executive

Freddy.crowe@ascendbrokingold.co.uk  |  Office: 01245 449066 

Freddy joined Ascend in October 2022 and has fit in well with the sales and marketing team, generating local leads. Freddy is currently completing his Cert CII and progressing through his Babingtons apprenticeship.

In his spare time Freddy enjoys catching up on the latest boxsets and going out with his friends.

Lianne Harrington

Head of Healthcare

Lianne@smphealthcare.com  |  Office: 01245 929129  |  07946 225456

SMP Healthcare Ltd joined Ascend in November 2021.  SMP was launched in January 2014, offering clients easy access to a specialist and independent health insurance broker. Lianne launched the business with the vision of providing clients, whether individual, small business or corporate, with a means to obtaining healthcare insurance from an ethical broker.

Growing from strength to strength, Lianne has been an integral part of ensuring the clients of SMP Healthcare Ltd continually receive the optimum level of service in a complex and ever-changing market place.

Ollie Miller Cert CII

Development Executive

Oliver@smphealthcare.com |  Office: 01245 929129

Ollie has recently moved from our commercial team to SMP Healthcare.

Before joining Ascend in October 2020, Ollie gained 3 years’ experience at Insure & Go Travel Insurance and Choice Underwriting, in underwriting and customer development. However, he is wanting to broaden his knowledge in the healthcare sector, ensuring he gives the best possible service.

Ollie is a keen sportsman and is our token Manchester United fan!

Lucy Pritchard

Trainee Account Executive

Lucy@smphealthcare.com |  Office: 01245 929129 

Lucy joined the team at SMP Healthcare in November 2022 as a trainee account executive and is making great progress within the team.  Lucy is learning the SME group sector and is soon to begin her journey to becoming CII qualified.  Although new to the insurance industry, Lucy previously worked as a restaurant manager and knows that with SMP Healthcare the customer experience is key.

Lucy lives in Manningtree and, in  her spare time, is a keen baker.  She enjoys cooking for her friends and family, and going to the gym.

Nigel Holmes

Development Executive

Nigel.holmes@ascendbrokingold.co.uk  |  Office: 01245 373678  

Nigel has vast sales and marketing experience having worked in the furniture and textiles industries for over 30 years, managing his own business. More recently, he set his hand to importing and distributing wine and spirits in the Canaries, returning to the UK to join our team.

He is always looking to develop networks by using his ‘people skills’, and to learn new concepts.

Nigel is a passionate sportsman – still representing Essex at Seniors cricket, and a West Ham fan. He is a proud father of twin boys.

Jo Fowler

Finance Manager

Jo.fowler@ascendbrokingold.co.uk  |  Office: 01245 449 060 OPT 3 

Ethan Jones

IBA Accounts

Ethan.jones@ascendbrokingold.co.uk  |  Office: 01245 449 060 OPT 3 

Reece Lopez

Marketing Executive

Reece.lopez@ascendbrokingold.co.uk  |  Office: 01245 449 060  


Reece joined Ascend in September 2023 in an apprenticeship role and is completing his Cert CII through Davies learning, with the goal of becoming a broker. 


Reece keeps himself active by filling his spare time with rugby and golf and can be found getting some much-needed practice in at any local driving range. 

Ethan Robinson

Marketing Executive

Ethan.Robinson@ascendbrokingold.co.uk  |  Office: 01245 449 060  


Ethan joined Ascend in September 2023 as an apprentice who is keen to expand his knowledge in the insurance industry. Currently, he is working through his Cert CII qualification whilst gaining experience in all our departments before specialising into the claims team with Alex and Marianne.


In his spare time, Ethan enjoys spending time with his friends and family and doing parkour.

Freddie Hockey

Marketing Executive

Freddie.hockey@ascendbrokingold.co.uk  |  Office: 01245 449 060  


Freddie joined Ascend in September 2023 and joined the finance team as an apprentice and is currently training for his AAT qualification through first intuition.


Freddie is a keen sportsman who supports Tottenham and plays football for Chelmsford City 1st team, he also likes to play golf and to see his friends.

Luca Groom

Marketing Executive

Luca.groom@ascendbrokingold.co.uk  |  Office: 01245 449 060  


Luca Joined Ascend in August 2023 as an apprentice, he is currently working for his CII qualification through Davies learning. 


Luca is a keen West Ham fan, he loves his golf with an amazing short game and a awful drive with a slice that nearly turns a full 90 degrees  

Are you interested in a career at Ascend? View our careers page and learn about Ascend Academy!

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