All 12 members of financial institutions team jump ship

Aon's financial institutions team has resigned to join rival broker Willis.

An Aon spokesman said that all 12 members of the team, which includes team leader Roland Avery, had "tendered their resignations".

Aon confirmed that Avery has already left the company. It is understood that the rest of the financial institutions team will be working out notice periods of varying lengths.

A Willis spokesman refused to comment on the new arrivals. "We do not comment on personal information regarding employees or prospective employees," he said.

"As and when appropriate we would make an announcement.

"We as a group are actively growing our financial institutions and professional risks area where we see good growth opportunities."

Sources say Aon's financial institutions team generates brokerage of around £3m-£4m per year.

Willis recently overtook Marsh as the second largest broker in the UK, behind first-placed Aon.

According to Insurance Times' annual Top 50 Brokers guide, compiled by corporate adviser IMAS, Willis disclosed a brokerage of £717m, compared to Marsh's disclosed brokerage of £554m.

Aon disclosed a fee and commission income of £731m.

Willis Group recently posted a 2003 second-quarter profit of $80m (£49.7m), up from a loss of $7m (£4.3m) a year ago.

The group's total revenues for the quarter ended increased 20% to $492m (£305m), up from $411m (£255m) for the corresponding quarter last year.

Last month, Aon reported a rise in net income to $298m (£186m) in the first half of 2003, up from $160m (£99.7m) the year before. Revenues were up 15% to $4.8bn (£2.99bn).