Alexander Forbes, formerly Nelson Hurst, has acquired employee benefits broker Johnstone Douglas for £42m.

Johnstone Douglas provides financial advice to more than 5,000 mainly small and medium-sized businesses on employee benefits, including medical insurance. It employs 200 staff in three UK offices and had a turnover last year of £13.5m.

Alexander Forbes has 5,000 employees based in 32 countries and had revenues of £110m in the six months to September 1999. Its activities include risk management and health care consulting, broking and niche marketing.

Leon Lewis, executive chairman of Alexander Forbes Financial Services, said: "This acquisition will enable us to further strengthen our hold in the small to medium business market, adding innovative products and services to those which we already offer to our clients."

Doug Johnstone, chairman of Johnstone Douglas, said: "With our new partners, we now have the resource to develop our business and recruit the best people to deliver the highest quality levels of service through our three core business streams – employee benefits, financial planning and software development."