Marsh reported strong revenue growth of 15% in the fourth quarter of last year to $2.6bn (£1.57bn) from $2.3bn (£1.39bn) in the same quarter of 2001.

Risk and insurance services revenue increased to $5.9bn (£3.5bn) in 2002 from $5.2bn (£3.1bn) in 2001.

Overall operating income increased to $2.3bn (£1.3bn) in 2002, from $1.8bn (£1.09bn) the year before.

The risk and insurance services business increased its operating margin to 25.2% in 2002 from 22.1% in 2001, while the group's investment management operating margin fell to 25.9% from 30.5% the year before.

The company forecast moderate property rate rises, but said difficult market conditions would continue during 2003, particularly for liability.