AXA broker division announces senior management changes as GWP swells to £700m.

AXA has announced that SBJ UK, the general insurance broking arm of SBJ, is to be integrated into Venture Preference (VP), taking the business to £700m GWP and close to 2000 employees in total.

SBJ Global Risks, the international broking arm of SBJ Group, will become a subsidiary of AXA Advisory Holdings, focusing on growth in the wholesale and speciality markets.

SBJ Group had a brokerage of £78.1m in 2006, making it the 15th largest broker in the UK.

In a statement VP said the the addition of SBJ UK would enhance the company's presence in the larger corporate market.

As part of the move the company said that Howard Fryer, formerly chief executive of SBJ UK, will be taking on a new role as one of VP's Regional Managing Directors.

Fryer will sit on the Trading Board and will report to Graham Coates, managing director, Trading.

Fryer will be taking on some of the outgoing Nick Inge’s responsibilities, the company said, as well as maintaining responsibility for many of the SBJ UK functions. Judy Baker will become corporate client services director on the Operations Board, reporting to chief operating officer, Shaun Hooper.

VP said that Baker would deliver greater focus to the company's corporate proposition and would work across the group to help improve acquisition, retention and development of corporate accounts.

Elaine Owen will be taking up the post of regional director for the North West while Chris Ladkin has been appointed regional director for South West, reporting to Fryer.

Howard Steeples will continue as Chairman of SBJ Global Risks and will join the VP management committee as a non-exec director,
while Darryl Druckman has been appointed as Integration & Acquisition Director for VP. He replaces Geoff Bradford.

Chief executive of VP Stuart Reid said: "Our businesses are already closely aligned in terms of how we trade and the markets we work within. This is therefore a great opportunity for us to work together to create an even stronger force in our industry."

Steeples added: "The integration of SBJ into VP will result in a stronger business as we combine SBJ’s expertise in the larger corporate market with VP’s strength in the SME sector. The business has a strong management team and I look forward to the future development of the wider VP business."

VP's parent company, AXA, acquired SBJ in March.

VP is the UK's second largest SME broking group, based at over 60 locations across the UK. Having reached £500m in premium mark in October, it plans to grow the business to twice that sum.