Global broker will also move 3,500 support jobs to low-cost locations

Willis has embarked on a new cost-cutting drive that will see the global broker axe support jobs and move 3,500 support roles to lower-cost locations.

Willis declined to detail to Insurance Times where the job cuts would fall, including the UK, although it has stated the changes will happen in ‘high cost locations’.

The broker revealed the new cost-cutting plan, which will run from the second quarter of 2014 to the end of 2017, in its first-quarter results.

The programme is expected to deliver cumulative cost savings of about $420m by the end of 2017 and annual cost savings of about $300m from 2018.

The support workforce cut and the relocation of 3,500 support roles to lower-cost locations will account for 70% of the total annual savings expected from 2018.

The company is also planning to consolidate leases on its office buildings, reduce the square footage of floor space per employee and simplify and rationalise its technology systems. These changes will account for the remaining 30% of the savings.

Willis made a made a net profit of $246m (£146m) in the first quarter of 2014, up 12% on the $219m profit it made in the same quarter last year.

However, it reported “disappointing” results in its new global insurance division after a further fall in UK revenue.