Leeds-based brokers Smithson Mason has stepped up its risk management operations with the creation of a new division, SMG Credit Risks.

The new arm will he run by managing director David Encell who joins the company from broker Marsh, where he was a regional director.

Encell said: "Credit risk management is becoming recognised as an important management tool.

"We believe that in such a highly specialist area, one-to-one client contact is vital and the philosophy of the new company is to be service driven."

Encell and his team of advisers will provide political and credit risk advice by monitoring potential impacts on export arrangements and identifying areas of risk in the credit chain.

The new division will focus on what it claims are "mid-corporate clients who are being disadvantaged by the major players in the market".

Encell said: "As an independent broker, it is SMG's aim to provide an innovative approach to credit risk and provide a premium level of service delivered locally."

"Many businesses have preconceived ideas about credit insurance and many are unaware that the underwriting market is changing rapidly and that new entrants are adding to the versatility of the basic concept."

The new operation will be based in Leeds, but will also operate from SMG's other offices in Bradford and Altrincham.