Letter of intent signed with broker Rochester Kemp

Broker Marsh is ready to steal a march on its rival Willis by beginning a major acquisition drive in the regions.

Marsh UK chief executive Bruce Carnegie-Brown said: "I don't think Willis's strategy is much different from ours. We are ready to acquire regional brokers, but the majority of our regional operations are bigger than theirs. As such we want to acquire brokers that fill a piece of the jigsaw for Marsh UK."

One such acquisition is Manchester-based Rochester Kemp. This week both parties signed a letter of intent and entered a stage of due diligence.

Marsh managing director of UK regional operations for corporate client practice John Nicholson said: "Marsh can confirm that it has signed an agreement to acquire the insurance broking and risk consulting business of Manchester-based Rochester Kemp.

"However, we are bound by and respect the confidentiality clauses within the agreement and are unable to comment further on this matter at this time."

Rochester Kemp is a small commercial broker that specialises in casualty business and commercial schemes for SMEs and contractors. Rochester Kemp was unavailable to comment on the deal.

Last week Insurance Times reported that Willis UK is interested in acquiring members of the Willis Commercial Network. It is believed to be interested in Cumbrian broker Jeffries Group.