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JLT rebrands wholesale arm following

JLT is to establish a separately branded company Lloyd & Partners to focus on business produced from independent US retail brokers.

Traditionally one of the strongest performing units of the London headquartered broker, JLT's management moved after recognising that its customer base of US retail brokers - who use the broker's wholesale arm to access specialist insurance markets such as London and Bermuda - may become piqued by the fresh competition provided by JLT's Capital Risks.

Formed in 2000 as a joint venture with the New York based private equity house The Blackstone Group, JLT revealed last month that Capital is beginning to mature with revenues leaping from £1.3mn in the first half of last year to almost £10mn this interim. Designed to provide an alternative to the global brokers Marsh, Aon and Willis, JLT's US arm now has 200 employees in 12 offices. In January 2004, it paid $62.5mn to buy HCC Insurance Holdings's employee benefits arm which included the transfer of 60 employees.

John Lloyd - one of the founding members of JLT predecessor Lloyd Thompson plc and chairman of JLT Risk Solutions - will become the head of the new company, which will be branded Lloyd & Partners. Lloyd Thompson specialised in US wholesale before its merger with Jardine Insurance Brokers in 1997 to form JLT Group. The arrangement, which is subject to approval by the UK regulators the Financial Services Authority, is set to be completed by the end of the year.

JLT's chief executive Steve McGill also revealed that the Group is determined to substantially increase its reinsurance income under the head of former Aon Re UK chief operating officer Alan Griffin. As with the wholesale arm, JLT revealed that it will rebrand its reinsurance unit. Griffin joins the group next year once his notice period expires. JLT currently earns between £35mn-£40mn of reinsurance revenues - a fraction of market leader Aon Re's $930mn turnover.

JLT reported a 6 percent increase in interim profits to £60mn and an 8 percent increase in turnover to £243mn (13 percent at constant rates of exchange). The news helped turn around a slide in JLT's share price which, last month, hit a three-year low of 402p following a bearish note from UBS insurance analyst Ben Cohen. Following the announcement, JLT's shares have climbed to stand at a current 450p.

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