St.Ives Group ‘keen to keep it parochial’ – sells 49.9% to RAC, the WA automobile and insurance group

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An innovative marriage has been created by the purchase of just under 50% of the leading WA village operator, St.Ives Group, by RAC – West Australia’s peak motoring and insurance organisation.

Specialising in the top end of the village market, St.Ives has about 800 ILU’s with 1,200 residents. Co-founder of St.Ives Group, Ray Fitzgerald, explained that they were keen to keep the company parochial, meaning in West Australian hands. The financial strength of RAC will give the group the capacity to expand while sustaining the current staff, shareholders and directors while giving residents long term comfort.

The attraction to RAC, apart from the solid financial investment, is that 200,000 of its 640,000 WA members are over 55 years of age. Perhaps RAC is considering following its English counterpart AA who has just announced a merging with the Over 55’s travel and insurance group SAGA. Worldwide in marketing circles it is being realised that the money is with this age group. Innovative ways have to be developed to build extend relationships or members could be lost to others – and what bigger transaction is there than the ‘family home’?

(To witness the tailoring of market offers to the 55+ market see