Heath Lambert is staying tight-lipped over speculation that it is planning to float on the stock market.

It is understood that flotation could value the UK's seventh biggest non-life broker at £500m.

Sources claim Heath Lambert has approached investment banks about such a project over the past month.

But a company spokesman said: "We will look at various options from time to time and we are not commenting beyond that."

Heath Lambert made a pre-tax profit of £42.6m in the year ending on 31 March 2001 out of a group turnover of £250.8m.

It is owned 36% by management and staff, with the remaining portion split between venture capital groups.