Sedgwick slips on fee decline

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Growing competition in world insurance markets and a softening of rates led Sedgwick Group, one of the world's largest insurance brokers, to announce a 3 per cent drop in profits yesterday, to pounds 76m for the first nine months of this year.

Among the areas where Sedgwick was most heavily affected were the London markets and Australia, where a move by top companies towards self-insurance affected revenue.

Sedgwick's dip in profits followed a slight decline in brokerage and fees income, down from pounds 663m in the first three quarters of 1995 to pounds 655m for the same period this year.

But the company's total revenue was boosted by an increase in interest and investment income, up from pounds 30.9m to pounds 37m.

Earnings per share for the period were 10.2p, compared to 9.1p in 1994. Shares in the company closed up 3p at 113p.

The company said yesterday it expected its continuing process of diversification worldwide would help offset cyclical market turns.

Sax Riley, chief executive, said: "We remain cautious about conditions in the industry. Sedgwick's policy of having a strong global network, with two main business streams, insurance and consulting, and of moving to more fee-driven income will help hedge against the cyclical nature of the insurance industry."