Best performing FTSE350 share over five years, says broker chief executive

Jardine Lloyd Thompson broke through the £100m profit before tax barrier for the first time.

The broker made double-digit increases in turnover, profit and dividend, but admitted it was seeing a slackening in the rates when the boom had fuelled much of last year's growth.

Chief executive Steve McGill forecast the hard market would continue for the next two years. But he said: "In certain classes rate increases have come off but US D&O [directors' and officers'] and medical malpractice are still going up.

"Overall we think rate rises are going to be less pronounced, but we don't see a major softening in the market."

There was a significant "flight to quality" fuelling demand for the broker's skills, he added.

He said JLT was the best performing share in the FTSE 350 over the past five years, producing a total shareholder return of 377%.

JLT's profit before tax increased to £100.2m for the year ended 31 December 2002, a 28% increase compared to £78.3m the same period the year before.

Turnover increased by 11% to £388.1m from £349.7m the year before.

JLT's risk and insurance segment produced revenue growth on continuing operations of 16% to £313.6m and a profit before tax in the UK of £74.3m.

Revenue from the group's employee benefits segment was flat, at £74.5m, but McGill said long-term deals, such as JLT's multi-million pound agreement to look after pension funds for the Prudential, would begin to benefit results this year.