The broker recorded a pre-tax loss of £2.2m for the year ending May 2018, but chairman Mark Bower-Dyke says the business is now back on track

Be Wiser has taken a range of business actions to help steady the firm in line for a targeted upturn in results this financial year.

The broker made a pre-tax loss of £2.2m (2017: £1.05m profit) for the year ending May 2018, chiefly because turnover fell 20% to £26.1m amid intense competition from direct writers, according to the latest filed accounts.

But the board is confident it has taken the right actions to position it to ‘bring about improved financial performance’ for this year.

The actions include boosting its cash position, bringing costs in line with trading and investing heavily in latest technology.

Be Wiser chairman Mark Bower-Dyke told Insurance Times the actions had already brought the broker back into profit for the first six months of the year.

Equity raising

The Andover-based broker has raised £1.55m through selling shares in the business, according to latest accounts.

Mark Bower-Dyke

Be Wiser chairman Mark Bower-Dyke

The equity capital raising has helped boost its end of year cash position by a million pounds to £2.75m.

Be Wiser has also raised £1m through an interest-free and unsecured loan from a main supplier.

Meanwhile, the board stressed that Be Wiser continues to invest heavily in latest technology.

“The directors have taken steps during the year (and continue to do so) to mitigate the negative turnover impact while investing heavily in advancing its technology and strengthening its tech platform,” the board said.

The broker has also taken steps to ensure costs are in line with trading and business conditions.

Staff numbers reduced from 652 to 606, which the company said “matched reduced enquiry flows”. Staff costs were down from £16.2m to £15.1m.

A new tech platform has helped reduce advertising costs on poor performing parts of the market, instead targeting profitable growth niche areas.

Altogether expenses were down from £32m to £28.5m.

“The directors believe that the afore-mentioned changes will reduce costs and bring about improved financial performance during the financial year ending May 2019,” the Be Wiser board said.