Berry Birch & Noble Insurance Brokers (BBNIB) is understood to be in talks with potential suitors over the prospect of selling all or part of its predominantly high-net-worth household and personal lines books.

The news comes as the broker announced it was under investigation by the FSA for a breach of the client money rules.

Saga and Rias have both been touted as potential buyers owing to BBNIB's largely mature customer base. Super-provincials Towergate, Oval and Smart and Cook may also be interested in taking on all or part of the book.

According to a source close to the company, the sale of the general insurance business might be necessary to prop up the company's core IFA activities.

BBNIB is part of the beleaguered financial services group Berkeley Berry Birch (BBB), which has already been in trouble with the FSA this year over regulatory capital shortfalls.

In a statement to the Stock Exchange last week BBB said: "The FSA is investigating a breach of the FSA's client money rules and the lack of systems and controls in relation to the handling of client money [by BBNIB]."

Paul Harrison, deputy chairman of BBNIB, said: "We didn't get it completely right, but I am satisfied that we have got our house in order now. There were a number of technical issues but client money was never put at risk."

Harrison said: "I can confirm that the parent company is looking at a number of options and would consider selling certain business lines.

He added: "The investigation by the FSA and the decision to sell are not related in any way."