Broker's profits surge 370%, thanks in part to lucrative office sale

Perkins Slade has seen a turnaround in fortunes in the year to 31 August 2010, posting a 370% increase in after-tax profit.

The Birmingham-based broker made a profit of £388,960 for 2009/2010, compared with a profit of £82,781 for 2008/09.

The sharp improvement was partly the result of a £446,969 profit on the sale of the company’s Petersfield office in Hampshire.

However, the company also returned to operating profitability, which excludes this gain. Operating profit for 2009/10 was £14,766, compared with an operating loss of £15,302 in the previous year.

Despite the improving profitability, the company’s turnover dropped 13.7% to £5.9m in 2009/10 from £6.8m in 2008/09.

“The results still show a tough economic climate out there, but I think the business fared well in it,” Perkins Slade chief executive Nick Tamblyn told Insurance Times. “We benefited from the sale of our Petersfield office, which created a one-off gain, but ignoring that we were still ahead of the operating profit level of earlier years.”

Tamblyn attributed the improvement to cost cutting, as well as business wins. Administrative expenses excluding exceptional items dropped to £5.9m from £6.7m.

Perkins Slade has been able to maintain service levels by keeping the cuts to administrative functions rather than front-line account executives and brokers. “It is about making sure you have got the right staffing,” Tamblyn said.

He added the company was sticking to the administrative cuts and investing in areas such as training and technology.

For the 2010/11 year, which is due to end in August, Tamblyn said the company was “running slightly ahead of budget at this time”, but he declined to give a profit target.