Marsh has agreed to acquire the brokerage business of South African financial services firm Alexander Forbes.

The business comprises Alexander Forbes Risk Services (AFRS) and certain local and correspondent operations serviced across sub-Saharan Africa, including Botswana and Namibia.

The transaction is subject to regulatory and other approvals, and is expected to close in the fourth quarter of this year.

Jurie Erwee, chief executive of AFRS, will be appointed chief executive of the combined business in Africa, to be called Marsh Africa. He will report to David Batchelor, CEO of Marsh’s Europe, Middle East and Africa region.

Brian Blake, CEO of Marsh South Africa, will be appointed vice-chairman of Marsh Africa with specific responsibility for developing African business outside South Africa, and will report to Erwee.

Marsh said the buy is a "significant step forward" in expanding its African presence and put it in a market-leading position in South Africa.

"In Alexander Forbes Risk Services, we will acquire a highly regarded firm, greatly strengthening our immediate presence and providing us with a powerful platform to deliver value to the fast-developing sub-Saharan region,” said Marsh chief executive Peter Zaffino in a statement.