Two former directors of collapsed broker Preston Whiteside will face trial for fraud in 2007.

Paul Newton and Matthew Walker face charges of fraudulent trading and forgery, and are alleged to have defrauded policyholders of £3.5m.

The Serious Fraud Office alleges that Preston Whiteside sat in the centre of a wholesale broking chain selling policies without insurers' permission. Its investigation has spanned three years.

Following a preliminary hearing held at Sheffield Crown Court last week, the two defendants will be called back to court on 17 July.

The SFO told Insurance Times: "No trial date has been set, but there is an indication that it will be held in early January 2007."

The trial of Michael Bright and two other former directors of Independent Insurance is also set to begin next year, around Easter. They have been charged with conspiracy to defraud.