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Financial Services - 1998






















Royal & Sun Alliance is acquiring Financial Structures of Bermuda from Pitney Bowes Credit for £16m.

Swiss Re is to acquire Fox-Pitt Kelton Group, the London-based investment banking boutique, for undisclosed terms.

AMP of Australia has confirmed that it will acquire NPI, the UK life mutual, in a £2.7bn deal.

Crowe Insurance Group, the Lloyd's independent managing agency, is to be acquired by Stockton Reinsurance of Bermuda for undisclosed terms.

Rathbone Brothers is acquiring Curzon Secretaries & Trustees, the Jersey-based trust and company management concern, for an initial £5m.

Card Protection Plan, the global credit card insurer, is to set up a £10m call centre in York, with the creation of 750 jobs.

Begbies Traynor, the Manchester-based corporate recovery concern, is merging with Leonard Curtis & Associates of Brighton.

Irish Life and Irish Permanent have announced terms for a £2.5bn merger, which will enable them to provide a one-stop shop for a wide range of financial services.

Ockham Holdings, the Lloyd's insurance company, is to merge with New London Capital, in a deal that values New London at £51m.

MPI, the Derby-based mortgage broker that is part of Bishopscourt Financial Holdings, has acquired Profile Financial Services for undisclosed terms.

CSL is to create more than 200 jobs in Reading, having won a contract to review pensions for Windsor Life.

Wren, the Lloyd's insurance company, is planning to merge with Masthead Insurance Underwriting to create a combined group trading under the Wren name with a market value of £100m.

Flemings, the investment bank, is to acquire Jardine Matheson's stake in their Jardine Fleming joint venture in Asia.

State Street, the US-owned bank and trust company, is planning to double the size of its Edinburgh operation over the next few years, creating about 80 jobs.

Eastgate has acquired Hambro Assistance, the supplier of legal expenses insurance, for £51m, and the new group will be called Eastgate Assistance.

Aon has acquired Irisc Claims Management, the Sheffield-based insurance company with 125 staff.

CGU is acquiring three Greek insurance companies from Royal & Sun Alliance for £3.6m.

Criterion Assurance is to recruit 20 new staff in Petersfield due to growth in its business supplying tailor-made schemes to financial services companies.

Abbey National is paying £347m to acquire three businesses from National Westminster - Lombard Motor Finance, Lombard Tricity Finance and Lombard Business Equipment Leasing.

Helphire has acquired Countrywide Assistance from Misys for £2.2m, in order to expand its legal expense insurance business.

Royal & Sun Alliance has bought Guardian Royal Exchange's New Zealand life business for £58m.

Legal & General has confirmed plans to spend £10m expanding its insurance call centre in Cardiff, creating 1,000 extra jobs.

Ulster Bank is planning to create an additional 100 jobs in Northern Ireland, and is also looking to streamline its processing systems in conjunction with its parent group NatWest.

Atrium Cockell, the underwriting agency, is planning to merge with the investment trust Lomond Underwriting to create a new group called Atrium Underwriting.

Woolwich is selling its 167 estate agency branches to Spicer McColl for £23m, in a deal that Winterthur Life is financing in order to boost its sales of house-related financial services.

Eastgate, the provider of services to the insurance industry, has opened a new call centre in Thurmaston, Leicestershire, and will recruit up to 100 staff.

Abbey National has bought the retirement planning division of Rea Brothers for an initial £0.5m.

General Re of the US is acquiring DP Mann, the Lloyd's agency, in a deal thought to be worth about £100m.

Capital Bank is creating 50 jobs at its financial services telesales operation in Chester.

Close Brothers has acquired a majority stake in Freyberg Hambros, the German corporate finance house, in order to set itself up as a leading adviser to medium-sized companies in Germany and Austria.

BKR Haines Watts is to set up an accountancy office in Derby and expects to create up to 30 jobs over the next five years.

Ecclesiastical Insurance, the Gloucester-based insurer of churches, is acquiring the Ansvar group of insurance companies operating in the UK, Australia and New Zealand, for £11m.

Norwich Union is to acquire London & Edinburgh Insurance Group from Hartford International Financial Services for £315m, which will result in about 600 jobs losses including 230 at L&E's office in Worthing.

Scottish Equitable is planning to create a further 150 jobs at its insurance headquarters in Edinburgh.

Barclays is to build a £11m administration processing centre in Leicester, creating almost 850 jobs.

Spinnaker International of Plymouth has combined with NCR of the US to develop a new product to protect money in cashpoint machines, and Spinnaker will be recruiting a further 100 workers over the next year.

Prudential is recruiting an additional 250 people at its call centre in Derby to cope with demand for its new Egg banking service.

DAS, the legal expenses insurer, is to expand its motor claims centre in Bedwas, near Caerphilly, with the creation of about 50 new jobs.

Capita Group has acquired Sector Holdings, the treasury and financial management advisory service, for £11m, in order to expand the range of services offered to local authorities.

Prebon Yamane is planning to merge with MW Marshall, the London spot foreign exchange broker, although details have yet to be finalised.

GE Capital has acquired Eagle Star Re, the reinsurance division, from Zurich Financial Services for undisclosed terms, but ZFS is to retain the remainder of its UK reinsurance business following the collapse of a proposed management buyout.

Axa Direct, the home and motor insurance company, is to set up a customer service centre in Liverpool with the creation of 300 jobs.

Morgan Bruce is to merge with Cole & Cole to create an enlarged law firm called Morgan Cole with nearly 100 partners and 600 staff across seven offices.

Cornhill Insurance is to set up a new dedicated processing centre in Leeds, creating 15 jobs.

Churchill Insurance is to open a call centre in Stockton, Teesside, with the creation of 250 jobs.

Weeks Green and BKL are planning to merge to create what they claim will be the largest accountancy practice in the south, and the group will be based at a new £4m headquarters in Eastleigh.

Family Assurance is to acquire Gan Pep Managers from Gan Life, which will add a further 30,000 Pep customers to its existing 20,000.

Reuters has bought the Liberty order-routing system from Cedel of Luxembourg, in order to become a leading supplier of order-handling capabilities for the securities markets.

Intercapital Group is planning to acquire Exco, the loss-making money broker, in a reverse takeover, in order to create a group large enough to compete effectively in wholesale broking.

The Credit Protection Association is to set up a regional office in Newmarket with the creation of 15 jobs.

Ulster Bank is acquiring Cunningham Coates, the Belfast-based stockbroker, for undisclosed terms.

Rutland Trust is selling Ellis & Buckle, the loss adjuster, to Lindsey Morden Group for £60m.

WorldPay is setting up an office in Cambridge to process payments made over the Internet on behalf of other companies, and is creating about 40 jobs.

Claverley Hyde is to merge with Bollington to create one of the largest insurance brokers in the Stafforshire and Cheshire region.

Gall & Eke, the Manchester-based stockbroker, is being acquired by Toronto-Dominion Bank for £8m, and will be integrated with the Canadian bank's London operation.

Lloyds TSB is acquiring three leasing subsidiaries from National Westminster Bank - NatWest Leasing Industries, NatWest Machinery Finance, and NatWest Specialist Finance - for £11m.

Bank One International of the US is to start marketing credit cards in the UK from new offices in Cardiff Bay, creating 100 jobs initially and up to 1,000 in five years.

Hays is acquiring Castleton Data Services, the billing services company, for up to £15m.

SEC is to sell Securitised Endowment Contracts, the marketmaker in endowment policies, to a management team for £6.5m, in order to focus on offering independent financial advice.

Albert E Sharp, the stockbroking firm, has been acquired by Old Mutual of South Africa for £41m, and will be merged with Old Mutual's recently-acquired Capel-Cure Myers broking operation.

Auto Direct is looking to recruit a further 100 staff at its North Staffordshire-based insurance call centre, in order to cope with an increase in business.

Norwich Union is acquiring Portfolio Partners, the Australian fund manager, for an undisclosed sum thought to be about £47m.

Nikko Europe is acquiring British Credit Trust Holdings, the motor finance company, for a sum thought to be under £10m, and will use it as a platform to expand into other consumer loan portfolios.

Standard Life Bank is to launch a variable rate mortgage this year, and will recruit 200 staff for the new service.

Hogg Robinson has acquired full control of Paymaster, the public sector pensions administrator, by buying out the 70% stake held by Electronic Data Systems of the US for £18m.

London Bridge Software is acquiring the mortgage products operation of CheckFree of the US for £13m, which will enable the two businesses to cross-sell products to each other's customers.

Marsh & McLennan of the US is acquiring Sedgwick, the UK insurance broker, for £1.25bn, and the two companies are expected to make cost savings of about £100m a year.

Edward Jones, the US stockbroker, is to open new offices in Glasgow and Edinburgh as part of a plan to have 40 UK offices by the end of the year.

Singer & Friedlander is selling its Capital Markets division to management for about £0.8m.

National Westminster Bank is to sell Coutts Bahamas, the offshore private bank, to SG Private Banking of France for an estimated $100m.

Cantrade Investment Management has been acquired by The Board of Executors of South Africa from UBS for an estimated £20m, and Cantrade will now be relaunched as Chiswell Associates.

Friends Provident has announced a £750m bid for London & Manchester, the home services insurer, in a rare attempt by a mutual to acquire a publicly quoted company.

Prudential is selling its Australian and New Zealand operations to Colonial of Australia for £495m, prompting speculation that it may use the proceeds to acquire a UK branch network.

Prudential is planning to expand the recently-acquired head office of Scottish Amicable in Stirling, with the creation of 500 jobs.

Halifax has agreed the acquisition of the Birmingham Midshires building society for £750m, and will retain the Midshires brand for at least three years with no branch closures or compulsory redundancies.

Skandia Insurance of Sweden has acquired the UK general insurance business of Hibernian of Ireland for about £30m, and Hibernian will use some of the proceeds to make acquisitions in Ireland.

Murray Lawrence is to merge with Angerstein to create one of the largest underwriting groups at Lloyd's of London.

Lloyds TSB is to acquire the Bank of Scotland's Countrywide Bank subsidiary in New Zealand in a deal thought to be worth about £300m, and will now be able to challenge Westpac for market leadership.

Mellon Bank of the US is acquiring a 75% stake in Newton Investment Managers in a deal that values the UK fund management company at £170m.

Linklaters is to combine with the German, Belgian, Dutch, and Swedish members of the Alliance of European Lawyers to create the second largest legal practice in the world.

United News & Media is planning to demerge its Garban and Harlow Butler money and securities broking business by distributing new shares to existing shareholders.

Kohlberg Kravis Roberts of the US is acquiring Willis Corroon, the insurance broker, in a £951m deal that will see Royal & Sun Alliance and Guardian Royal Exchange acquire minority stakes.

Card Clear has acquired Retail Markets as well as an 85% stake in Master Change, which will provide it with currency exchange kiosks at a number of locations in the UK and Europe.

ED&F Man is to buy the brokerage accounts division of First Options of Chicago for about £7m, as part of a strategy to expand its financial services business through bolt-on acquisitions.

Neville Russell, the UK accounting firm, is to merge with Mazars & Guerard of France to create a combined firm with 3,500 staff in 26 countries.

HEV, the venture capital business of the former Hambros Bank, has been bought out by a new independent company called Duke Street Capital.

Woolwich is to set up a call centre in Clacton-on-Sea that will offer advice on all its banking services, creating 400 jobs.

Bank of Scotland's Capital Bank subsidiary is said to be planning to create 700 jobs at new offices in Speke-Garston near Liverpool.

Ace of Bermuda is acquiring Tarquin, the holding company that includes Charman Underwriting, for £311m in shares.

London Scottish Bank, the consumer credit and debt collection concern, is acquiring Isis Factors, the invoice factoring company, for £6m.

Guardian Royal Exchange is acquiring ING's US property and casualty business for £1.15bn, and is selling its Canadian division to ING for $375m, in a deal that will strengthen its position in the US Midwest and north-east.

Brewin Dolphin has acquired Wise Speke, the private client stockbroker, from Ockham for an initial £24m, which will improve its presence in the north of England.

Daiwa Securities, the Japanese stockbroker, is to move the headquarters of its international operation to London.

Syndicate Capital is acquiring Spreckley Villers Burnhope, the non-marine underwriting agency, for £54m in a further consolidation of the Lloyd's of London insurance market.

Aberdeen Lloyd's Insurance Trust is acquiring Hayward Brick Stuchbery, the holding company for the Chaucer underwriting agency, in a £18m deal.

Lambert Fenchurch is acquiring Delta Insurance Services, the Swedish marine broker, for an initial £1m.

Commercial Union is acquiring Berlinische Lebensversicherung, the German insurer, from Munich Re and Allianz for £207m, in order to gain access to the deregulated German market.

Investec of South Africa is to acquire Hambros for £428m, which will give it stakes in two fund management companies, a private equity operation, and a number of investment stakes.

Merrill Lynch, the US investment bank, is planning to open offices in Newcastle, Edinburgh, Leeds, Birmingham, Manchester and Bristol, creating 300 jobs.

Commercial Union has acquired National Farmers Union, the US agricultural insurer, for £71m.

Abbey National has announced the sale of its Spanish operations to Caja de Ahorros del Mediterraneo for about £120m, due to recurring losses.

Abbey National has acquired TSB Factors, the factoring and invoice discounting business, from Lloyds TSB for undisclosed terms and will rename it First National Invoice Finance.

Royal & Sun Alliance is acquiring J Haenecour, the Belgian marine underwriter, for under £5m.

Cox Insurance is acquiring Anthony Kidd Agencies, the travel and personal accident insurance distributor, for £14m.

Norwich Union is selling its Maritime Insurance business to CNA Financial Corp of Chicago for £56m.

Investec of South Africa has acquired Guinness Mahon, the merchant bank, from the Bank of Yokohama for £95m, and the deal also includes the Henderson Crosthwaite private client stockbroking business and a 44% stake in Guinness Flight Hambro Asset Management.

Bradford & Bingley has agreed terms to acquire the Black Horse estate agency chain from Lloyds TSB for £56m, which will give it a much stronger presence in the south of England.

Wilde Sapte, the UK law firm, is to merge with Arthur Andersen's global network of legal practices creating a firm with 750 lawyers and £100m annual turnover.

NRP, the financial services and residential property company, is planning a £3.5m reverse takeover of Teather & Greenwood, the stockbroker.

National Westminster Bank is launching a new investment banking business called Hawkpoint Partners, and is on the look-out for staff.

Fidelity Investments is said to be planning to set up a £10m centre in preparation for the launch of Individual Savings Accounts in April 1999, creating 200 jobs.

Commercial Financial Services of the US is to set up a call centre in Maidstone to offer debt collection services, creating 200 jobs.

Royal & Sun Alliance is acquiring the New Zealand life assurance and investment operation of Norwich Union for £54m, which will enable it to cut costs and improve distribution in the Pacific Rim region.

Paragon Group has bought Universal Credit, the consumer finance business, from Lloyds TSB for £25m.

General Motors' Residential Funding subsidiary is to acquire the mortgage service division of Birmingham Midshires Building Society, in an attempt to replicate its US business in Europe.

Barclays Bank is to open a telephone banking centre in Sunderland for its Barclaycall service, creating 2,000 jobs.

Commercial Union and General Accident have agreed a £14bn merger to create a new group called CGU that will be the UK's second-biggest insurer, and about 5,000 jobs will be lost.

Intrum Justitia, the debt collection agency, is being acquired by a new company called Collector in a £126m deal that will return it to private hands.

NatWest has sold County NatWest Australia, the equities and corporate finance operation, to Salomon Smith Barney of the US for £52m.

Prudential is to create 1,500 jobs at a new £25m direct banking centre in Derby.

Henderson, the UK fund manager, is being acquired by Australian Mutual Provident for £382m, and the two companies now expect to be able to offer a wider range of products.

Guinness Mahon Holdings has sold Guinness Mahon Development Capital, which invests in small unquoted companies, to a management team for about £1m.

National Westminster Bank has sold its Canadian bank to Hong Kong Bank of Canada for undisclosed terms.

Flemings is acquiring Banco Graphus, the Brazilian investment bank, for about $50m as part of a strategy to expand in emerging markets.

NatWest Markets is selling its Asian equities and corporate finance business to a joint venture of the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China and Hong Kong's Bank of East Asia for about £10m, as part of a strategy to withdraw from equities.

Life Assurance Holding is acquiring Aegon Financial Services from Scottish Equitable for a sum thought to be less than £30m.

Card Clear, the card payment and fraud prevention company, is acquiring HTEC, the loyalty card company, for £24m in a reverse takeover.

SEC Group, the financial services company, is acquiring Barclays Personal Taxation Service for up to £5m.

Bank of Yokohama is looking to sell Guinness Mahon, the merchant bank, in order to focus on its domestic Japanese business, and a management buy-out has already been agreed for Guinness Mahon Development Capital.

Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette, the US investment bank, has announced details of its European expansion which include the setting up of an equities research, sales and trading business in London, creating up to 200 jobs.

Sedgwick is selling two Dutch insurance subsidiaries - Praevenio and Schlencker - to Delta Lloyd, the Dutch company owned by Commercial Union, for £11.2m.

Barclays has sold part of its BZW Asian equities business to Credit Suisse First Boston for undisclosed terms, including the Taiwan equities operation and a 70% stake in a Singapore joint venture.

Tasco Europe, the accountancy joint venture between Shell International and Ernst & Young, is to start offering accounting services to pan-European companies, and will create 400 jobs in Glasgow over the next three years.

General Accident is pulling out of Scandinavia with the sale of Activ Forsikring, its Norwegian operation, to Skandia Insurance for undisclosed terms.

GAN Insurance has announced that its £300m sale to Life Assurance Holding will not take place until after its French parent is privatised later this year.

The Inter-Alliance chain of financial advisers is to raise £5m with a listing on Aim in order to expand to 1,500 advisers over the next three years.

Life Assurance Holding is acquiring Gan Life & Pensions, the UK arm of Societe Centrale du Gan of France, for £316m.