Commercial brokers in cities are feeling the pinch of the softening market more than rural brokers, according to Vega Insurance Services.

Managing director Bob Screen said there was "definitely a difference" in how brokers in different areas are being affected by the softening market.

But he said geography was only one factor in differing business performance.

Competition between brokers in metropolitan areas tended to be higher, as well as the size of the placement being dealt with. Customer retention was a further factor, he said.

Willis Commercial Network managing director Mark Radburn agreed that competition tended to be fiercer in metropolitan areas.

But The Broker Network chief executive Grant Ellis said he had not detected any difference between the network's city and rural members.

"Smaller commercial business is holding up well," said Ellis. But he said anything with a premium over £300,000 was beginning to "fall off".