Smart & Cook has bought Berry Birch & Noble Insurance Brokers (BBNIB), and an announcement to the Stock Exchange is expected next week.

The price paid for BBNIB has not been revealed, but it is thought to be in the region of £4.5m.

A source close to the company revealed: "It's a done deal. The staff already know. It will be a strong base for Smart & Cook in the South."

It is understood that all staff will remain in place and will continue to trade from BBNIB's head office in West Wickham, Kent.

BBNIB, which is part of the beleaguered financial services group Berkeley Berry Birch (BBB), specialises in motor for over-50s drivers, high net worth, affinity and commercial insurance.

The group was in trouble with the FSA last year over regulatory capital shortfalls, and BBNIB has been under investigation by the FSA for a breach of client money rules.

It is thought the sale of BBB's general insurance business might be necessary to prop up the company's core IFA activities.

Other names in the frame to buy BBNIB were Towergate, Oval and retirement specialists RIAS.

Both Smart & Cook and BBB declined to comment on the matter.