Layton Blackham is on the hunt for £10m of fresh finance to pay for a new round of acquisition and growth.

The broker is looking outside the insurance industry for a cash injection after raising a similar amount through a preference share investment by AXA and other insurers in 1997.

Group marketing director Charles Whitfield said Layton Blackham was looking further afield this time.

"We are casting our net wider. We probably spent £10m on acquisitions over the past five years and we could probably do that again.

"It probably has to come from outside the normal channels, because insurers aren't exactly flush with funds at the present time."

Layton Blackham is listed at 36 in the Insurance Times Top 50 Brokers.

Acquisition plans are likely to centre on brokers with small-to-medium sized books of business, close to the group's existing offices. These include Chelmsford, London, Milton Keynes, Swindon, Leeds, Coventry, Tonbridge and Farnham.

Other plans include the launch of a franchise operation aimed at brokers who plan to sell their business in a few years.

The scheme could convert equity into cash or bring in Layton Blackham's services into businesses not yet ready to sell up.