Growth in Heath Lambert's UK retail units helped to boost half-year pre-tax profits to £8.6m, 19% up on the previous year.

In a trading statement issued this week, the broker said UK income was up 8% year on year "despite softening markets and the loss of revenue streams through divestments last year".

The company said there was "significant" year-on-year growth for its main UK
retail units, including its UK commercial network and personal lines operations.

Adrian Colosso, group chief executive, said: "These numbers demonstrate that our strategy to develop a strong independent UK retail business, while maintaining international wholesale and reinsurance specialisms, is now coming to fruition."

He added: "The disposal of many of our overseas operations through 2004 and 2005 presented our international wholesale and reinsurance units with significant challenges in replacing discontinued income flows, but we have been very encouraged by the new business development in these areas."