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Financial Services - 2004






















Millfield Group is to sell IntelliFlo, the supplier of services to financial advisers, to a management buy-out for £0.3m.

Beddis & Partners, the Birmingham-based commercial insurance broker with 60 staff, has been acquired by Oval Insurance Broking for undisclosed terms.

Wilkin Chapman, the law firm with 178 staff at offices in Grimsby, Lincoln, Cleethorpes, Louth, and Horncastle, has merged with Cooper & Wright of Beverley.

Bank of Ireland is to acquire Burdale Financial Holdings, the London-based corporate lender with 30 staff, for £49m.

SQW, the management consultancy with 65 staff at offices in Cambridge, Edinburgh, Leeds, London and Manchester, is to undergo a management buy-out with £1.5m of funding from Bank of Scotland Corporate.

Clapham & Collinge, the law firm, is to relocate its 30 Norwich-based staff to a new office at St Catherine's House in All Saints Green next June.

National Australia Bank is to sell Northern Bank and National Irish Bank to Danske Bank of Denmark for £967m, which could lead to the loss of a few hundred back-office jobs in Northern Ireland.

Britannic is to acquire the closed life assurance fund of Alliance Cornhill Insurance for £110m.

American Express is considering plans to relocate 300 staff from Brighton to Burgess Hill, following an approach from an unnamed company to buy Napier House.

Berkeley Morgan is to be acquired by Personal Group for £12m, creating one of the country's largest providers of personal insurance and employee benefits.

Investec is to merge its Carr Sheppards Crosthwaite division with Rensburg, creating a combined stockbroking business with 12 branches across the country.

HHG is to sell four closed life assurance brands, including Pearl, London Life, NPI and National Provident Life, to Life Company Investor Group for £1bn.

Keelys has acquired Simon Murray, the London-based law firm with 15 staff at offices in Covent Garden and Islington.

Swiss Life is to sell its UK life insurance operation, which employs 270 staff in Liverpool, to Resolution Life for £205m.

Principality Building Society is to create 160 new jobs in Cardiff over the next year, in order to create a new finance business following its acquisition of Loan Link.

Ashcourt Holdings has acquired Howells, Rawlings & Ward, the independent financial advisor, for £0.2m.

Cater Barnard is to acquire Navitas Hemway and Telco Solutions, as part of a strategy to provide a wide range of professional services to the real estate industry.

DLA is planning to merge with Piper Rudnick of the US to create an international law firm with 6,000 staff in 18 countries.

International Acceptance, the Sunderland-based consumer finance company, is planning to create 70 jobs over the next 18 months in order to expand its personal loans business across Europe.

Charles Stanley has acquired Sutherlands Group, the independent stockbroker with offices in Edinburgh and London, for £2.4m.

Yes Loans & Mortgages of Cardiff is planning to expand its workforce from 35 to more than 100 over the next three years.

Franklin Templeton, the US investment manager, is to set up a 22,500 sq ft London headquarters on John Adam Street, WC2.

Norwich Union is to create 200 jobs at its call centre in Perth, in order to service customers who have bought insurance policies through Asda.

Bridgewell, the stockbroker with 70 staff, is to raise £4m in a share placing to fund the expansion of its research and corporate broking teams.

Huntswood Outsourcing is to create up to 355 jobs at a new financial services operation at the Strathclyde Business Park near Glasgow.

Insurety Insurance is to open an office for 12 staff in Londonderry, in order to co-ordinate the work of 30 representatives across Northern Ireland.

Dipford is to acquire full operating control of the Redwoods network of company brokerage regional offices for £1.8m.

Your Move is planning to expand its chain of 240 estate agency branches with a further 50 in 2005, and is also expanding its financial advice, conveyancing and insurance operations.

ING Group is selling Baring Asset Management's fund management business to MassMutual Financial for undisclosed terms, while BAM's custody and fund administration business is being sold to Northern Trust for £260m.

Bradford & Bingley is planning to sell its Charcol mortgage broking business to a management buy-out backed by Advantage Capital for under £10m.

Prudential is to acquire Life Assurance Company of Georgia from ING for £137m, in order to expand its Jackson National Life business in the US.

Easybroker is planning to raise £4m in a flotation on Aim to fund the expansion of a system that enables institutions to carry out cross-border trading.

Capita Group has acquired Brownsword, the provider of claims investigation services, for £5m.

Norwich Union has announced plans to relocate more than 1,000 staff from a number of sites in Norwich to two new office blocks on the Broadland Business Park in 2006.

Keefe, Bruyette & Woods, the US investment bank, is setting up a £11m office in London to offer research on European financial stocks.

Marketsafe is to create 92 jobs at a new office in Bridgend over the next three years, in order to provide a pan-European service of credit information and other business services.

Royal & Sun Alliance Insurance Group is to sell its Japanese branch operations to American Home Assurance Company and AIU Insurance Company for £92m.

Swinton has acquired Waveney Insurance Brokers, the household insurance business with six branches in East Anglia.

MyMortgageDirect has chosen a site in Brighton for its first regional call centre, and 30 jobs will be created when it opens in January.

Willis has acquired Opus, the insurance company with 50 staff in Cardiff and Swansea, for undisclosed terms.

Singer & Friedlander is forming a joint venture with Benfield Group to acquire the whole of Benfield Premium Finance, in order to offer a complete range of personal and commercial insurance products.

Jelf Group is to acquire Managed Healthcare, the Somerset-based brokerage specialising in healthcare and private medical insurance, for less than £0.2m.

Clydesdale Bank is planning to relocate 200 Glasgow-based staff to a new 36,000 sq ft office at Central Exchange by May 2005.

Highway Insurance has acquired Direct Motorline, the Ipswich-based insurance broker, for £3.4m, and the business will relocate to Highway's Ipswich office in early 2005.

Ashfords, the law firm, is planning to expand the 250-strong workforce at its Exeter office with 100 additional staff, following its demerger from Bevan Ashford.

Ernst & Young is looking to recruit a further 40 staff to add to the existing 460 at its accountancy office in Birmingham.

Bridgepoint has backed the £72m management buy-out of First Credit, the consumer debt firm.

Friends Provident is to acquire Lombard International, the Luxembourg-based life assurance company, for up to £414m.

Standard Chartered is to acquire the London-based project finance business of Australia & New Zealand Banking Group.

Lawrence Graham, the law firm, is to set up a 125,000 sq ft office on the More London estate in SE1 in 2007.

Egg is to sell the unsecured loan book of its French operations to Banque Accord for up to £96m, with the transfer of about 100 staff.

Hargreaves Lansdown, the financial services group, is seeking a larger site in the Bristol area in preparation for the planned doubling of its 400-strong workforce by 2008.

Hermes is to acquire Wescot Credit Services, the debt collection agency, for about £110m.

Egg is planning to sell its UK-based individual savings account and share trading operations to Fidelity Investments for undisclosed terms.

Experian expects to create about 100 new jobs at its Nottingham-based financial information business over the next 12 months, and may decide to expand its Landmark House building.

Bradford & Bingley has sold its estate agency chain to Countrywide for £44m.

Risk Advisory Group, the corporate security company with 750 staff, is expected to undergo a £15m management buy-out.

Scott Tod has secured a £10m banking facility from Lloyds TSB to fund the expansion of its cash-in-transit business.

TF Bell Group, the insurance broker with offices in Hinckley and Leicester, has undergone a management buy-out.

Helphire is to acquire Albany, the legal expenses insurer, for £46m, which will add eight depots to its network and a call centre in Peterlee.

TSYS Europe is to create 30 new jobs at its credit, debit and retail card transactions business in York by the end of the year.

HSBC is planning to recruit 130 business bankers next year, as part of a £1.4bn five-year investment that has seen the creation of 214 commercial centres in its branches.

Saga, the holidays and insurance company with 2,500 staff, has been acquired by a management buy-out backed by private equity firm Charterhouse for £1.35bn.

Axa Insurance has announced plans for the £10m refurbishment of its Suffolk House office in Ipswich by the end of next year, in order to house some of the staff currently based in satellite offices around the town.

Broker Network Holdings has acquired Norfolk & Suffolk Insurance Brokers of Lowestoft for undisclosed terms.

ING Direct is planning to set up a banking call centre in Cardiff, with the creation of 300 jobs.

McKeags, the law firm, is to recruit 50 additional staff in Newcastle, taking the total to more than 300 by next summer.

Smart & Cook has acquired Lindo & Tindale, the Stockton-based insurance broker, and the combined business is expected to be merged into larger premises in 2005.

Collins Stewart has confirmed a deal to acquire Prebon Yamane for £125m, in order to expand its Tullett broking business.

Customs & Excise is to relocate about 80 staff from its Elmbridge Court office in Gloucester to other regional offices this autumn, while the search continues for a permanent site in Gloucester.

Pinsents is in merger discussions with Mason, which could lead to the creation of a combined law firm with 1,700 staff and more than 250 partners.

Golden Prospect has acquired Ambrian Partners, the London-based investment banking and brokerage firm focused on the mining and metals sector, for £2.2m.

Cobbetts has acquired Walker Charlesworth & Foster, the Leeds-based law firm specialising in housing associations.

Eversheds, the law firm, is considering plans to relocate from its 90,000 sq ft Queen Victoria Street headquarters in London to an office of at least 120,000 sq ft.

F&C Management and Isis Asset Management are to shed about 200 jobs following their recent merger, and the London head office of Isis will relocate to F&C's headquarters in Liverpool Street.

Chadwick Lawrence is to merge with Steven Bonfield Solicitors, creating a combined law firm with about 155 staff and six offices across West Yorkshire.

Clydesdale Bank is to expand its network of small business banking centres into a further 40 locations in the south of England, and will also set up a new flagship financial solutions complex in Glasgow and refurbish its head office.

Integrated Asset Management is to acquire International Capital Markets, the Italian money broking company, for an initial £1m.

Standard Life is planning to close its 17,000 sq ft Tanfield office in Edinburgh, in order to relocate 1,000 staff to other sites nearby.

St James's Place, the financial services company, is to set up a new 55,000 sq ft headquarters in Cirencester, in order to relocate from six existing sites nearby.

SBJ has acquired the financial services division of Miller Insurance Investments for undisclosed terms, which will involve the transfer of 36 staff to the London office of SBJ.

Paymentshield, the Southport-based wholesale mortgage insurance company with 200 staff, has undergone a management buy-out for about £36m.

Broker Network Holdings has acquired Ewen C Mair & Co of Castle Douglas for undisclosed terms.

Bank of New York is said to be considering plans to relocate some of its back-office functions and hundreds of jobs from London to Manchester.

The Inland Revenue and Bradford Council are to open a joint call centre in Bradford later this year, with the creation of up to 200 jobs.

CPP Group is to create 200 new jobs at its consumer assistance services centre in York.
26-Aug-2004, the financial services company, is to invest £1.2m in a second office at St David's Park, Ewloe, with the creation of 200 jobs.

London Scottish Bank has acquired certain assets of Morse's, the personal loans company with 500 staff, for an initial £10m.

Sumitomo Mitsui, the Japanese bank, is looking to set up a new 70,000 sq ft headquarters in London, and a number of potential sites are being considered.

Franklin Templeton, the investment management firm, is to relocate to a 57,000 sq ft office at Morrison Street in Edinburgh.

Countrywide has acquired Freeman Forman, the chain of 14 estate agency branches in East Sussex and Kent.

Barclays has acquired Juniper, the US credit card company, from CIBC for £160m.

Bradford & Bingley is to sell Charcol Aitchison & Colegrave and Charcol Holden Meehan, which have aggregate net assets of about £5.6m, to John Scott & Partners of Marlow.

Watson Burton, the Newcastle-based law firm, is planning to open an office in Leeds in early 2005, in order to offer corporate legal services.

Barclays has acquired a 50% stake in Intelenet Global Services, the Indian business process outsourcing company, for £19m.

Grovefield Finance has acquired Norfolk & Suffolk Finance, the Lowestoft-based commercial finance firm with 14 staff.

Freedom Finance is creating 30 jobs at a new mortgage and loans centre in Norwich.

Capita Group is to start recruiting 200 new staff for a call centre in Gloucester, in order to operate the government's new Child Trust Fund.

Switch TM is to create 100 new jobs at its financial services telemarketing call centre in Salford Quays.

Barclays is looking to expand its international banking business, and is particularly interested in Spain, the Middle East and Africa.

Skipton Building Society has sold Industrial Equipment Finance to Hitachi Capital for £4.4m.

Bcwgroup has set up a new £5m credit management and outsourcing call centre in Rutherglen, and 200 new jobs will be created over the next eight months.

Millfield is planning to merge with Inter-Alliance, creating a combined independent financial advisory group with 1,850 advisers.

Charles Stanley is to acquire Tozer Wingate, the Plymouth-based corporate benefit consultancy, for up to £1.5m.

Royal Bank of Scotland is to acquire Lynk Systems, the US-based merchant acquiring business, for £288m.

Broker Network Holdings has acquired Mid-Pennine Insurance Services for £0.3m.

Skipton Building Society has acquired an 80% stake in Mutual One, the provider of compliance, internal audit and insurance services to building societies, for undisclosed terms.

Marsh is planning to close an insurance office in London's Docklands next year, and up to 600 staff could be relocated to Norwich, Witham or its London head office.

Royal & Sun Alliance has sold its life assurance operations to Resolution Life Group for £850m.

Abbey National is to be acquired by Santander Central Hispano, the Spanish bank, for £8bn.

Tenon Group is to acquire Premier Strategies, the tax planning company, for an initial £2m, as well as business services practices in Rochdale and Bacup.

Cattles has secured a £500m credit facility to support the expansion of its financial services business.

Royal & Sun Alliance has sold its general insurance operations in Pakistan to International General Insurance for £0.7m.

Aviva has sold its Your Move estate agency and surveying operations to a management buy-out backed by Barclays Private Equity for £42m.

National Assembly for Wales has provided a regional selective assistance grant to a new consumer credit company called Picture Financial, which will set up a headquarters for 70 staff at the Celtic Lakes Business Park in Newport.

Exeter Investment Group is to be acquired by Iimia of Bournemouth for about £19m, which will involve the transfer of 120 Exeter-based staff.

Community Broking Group has acquired Carpenter Rees Jackson, the Manchester-based financial planning practice, for £0.7m.

Budget is to create 250 new jobs at its insurance call centre in Bretton, Peterborough, over the next two years.

HSBC has acquired Marks & Spencer Retail Financial Services for £762m, but M&S will retain 50% of the earnings from the store cards.

Royal Bank of Scotland has acquired Hanco, the operator of 5,000 cash machines, for about £80m.

Yes Loans & Mortgages is planning to relocate its Cardiff office to the Neptune Court development in Cardiff Bay and increase its current workforce from 23 to 100 over the next three years.

Ernst & Young is to relocate its Inverness office and about 50 staff to the Stoneyfield Business Park this autumn.

Mortgageforce is to set up a new headquarters in Derby for its Wow Mortgages & Loans joint venture with Mortgages PLC, with the creation of up to 20 jobs.

Highway Insurance has acquired A Quote Insurance Services, the Andover-based personal lines broker, for £4.6m.

HSBC is considering plans to refurbish about 400 bank branches, in order to improve service and streamline its product range.

KPMG is considering plans to take a 130,000 sq ft office at the £300m Masshouse scheme in Birmingham, although it may decide to refurbish its existing office in Cornwall Street instead.

Skipton Building Society is to acquire MLP Insurance Services, the Shipley-based private health insurance broker, for £2.8m.

Chesnara has sold Key Retirement Solutions, its equity release and retirement planning IFA company with 70 staff, to management for £2.8m.

IP2IPO has acquired Top Technology Ventures, the investment manager of early stage technology venture capital funds, for up to £2.4m.

Broker Network has acquired AJ Barter Insurance Brokers of Somerset for up to £0.5m.

Ulster Bank has announced a three-year restructuring and investment programme that will involve the creation of 150 jobs in Belfast and an equal number of redundancies at other locations.

Singer & Friedlander is to acquire Wintrust, the London-based merchant bank, for £53m.

Bentley Jennison is to merge with WBS, the accountancy firm with offices in Leeds and Harrogate, creating a combined group with 50 partners and more than 750 staff.

Royal & Sun Alliance has sold its Scandinavian life and pensions business to SEB Trygg of Sweden for £173m.

Willis is to acquire a majority stake in Coyle Hamilton, the Irish insurance broker with 500 staff, for undisclosed terms.

SP Bell, the stockbroker with nine regional offices, has announced a £2m reverse takeover deal with Merchant House Group.

GE Capital is to set up a new 50,000 sq ft London headquarters at Berkeley Square.

Hitachi Capital is planning to make acquisitions to expand its finance and leasing business over the next few years.

Abbey National is to sell its asset finance and leasing businesses to ING Lease UK, which will involve the transfer of about 243 staff.

Cabot Financial is to open a debt collection call centre in Bradford in July, and the initial 40-strong workforce will eventually increase to 250.

Comdirect, the online stockbroker, has been sold by its German parent to Lloyds TSB Development Capital for £16m.

Budget Group is to create a further 150 jobs at its Junction call centre in Sunderland, having won a contract to provide customer support to Post Office car insurance customers.

Invest NI is supporting plans from Ocwen Financial Corporation of the US to set up a £4.7m data and technical support centre in Belfast, with the creation of 12 jobs.

CitiFinancial has acquired an additional 26,0000 sq ft of office space at the Doxford International Business Park in Sunderland, in order to expand its financial services operation and create 300 new jobs.

HammondsDirect, the bulk conveyancing company, is to set up an office in Sheffield this summer, with the creation of up to 40 jobs.

Garbutt & Elliott is to relocate its York-based chartered accountancy business and 80 staff to the outskirts of the city next month.

Martineau Johnson, the law firm with about 260 staff, is to relocate its Birmingham office to One Colmore Square in September.

Watson Burton, the Newcastle-based law firm, is planning to create a further 50 jobs by the end of the year.

Berkeley Burke has acquired Sheldon Monk, the London-based insurance broker with ten staff.

Egg is creating a further 80 jobs at its internet banking business in Derby this summer.

Barclays is to recruit 1,000 additional branch staff, in order to improve customer service, but 800 middle management and support jobs will be lost.

Homeserve has acquired the house builder policy business of Principal Choice Limited and Principal Marketing & Insurance Services for up to £2m.

Johnston Carmichael has acquired Turnbull Kemp, the Perth-based accountancy firm with 20 staff.

Norwich Union is to invest £90m in the refurbishment of its Norwich offices over the next four years, including the creation of a new site on the Broadland Business Park.

SJ Berwin, the law firm, is to set up a 185,000 sq ft headquarters at Queen Street Place in London EC4 in September 2005.

Homeserve, the home insurance repairer, is to create 100 new jobs at its call centre in Walsall over the next 12 months, while a further 400 jobs are being created at a new 24-hour facility in Preston.

Collins Stewart is to acquire Prebon Group for undisclosed terms, creating a combined broking business with 3,000 staff in 26 cities worldwide.

Barnetts, the Southport-based law firm, is to create a further 100 jobs to cover evening shifts in its conveyancing department.

Cunningham John is to merge with Few & Kester of Cambridge, creating a combined East Anglian law firm with 23 partners called Kester Cunningham John.

Alpha Financial Management has acquired Eccleston Park Financial Services of Prescot for undisclosed terms.

Alchemy has acquired Swift Advances, the mortgage and consumer credit lender, for about £100m.

KTSOwensThomas, the Cardiff-based accountancy firm with 75 staff, is relocating its headquarters to an 8,000 sq ft office at the Celtic Gateway development in Cardiff Bay.

Bradford & Bingley is looking to sell its Charcol mortgage broking operation, as well as its 300-strong chain of estate agents, its SecureMove surveying business and two independent financial advisers.

Financial Telemarketing Services is planning to create up to 200 jobs at a new call centre, and potential sites are being considered in the Hull area.

Amlin has acquired SM Marine Holdings, the yacht insurance broker that operates under the name of St Margarets Insurances and has net assets of £1.4m.

Barclays Capital is said to be planning to recruit up to 3,000 staff over the next three years, in order to expand its debt and advisory operations in the US and Europe.

Old Mutual is seeking acquisitions to expand its financial services business in the UK, and is particularly interested in a life or asset management company.

TML (The Mortgage Lender) is to relocate 260 staff from Eastleigh to a larger office at the Solent Business Park near Fareham in July, and more than 200 new jobs will be created.

Royal Bank of Scotland is to acquire Chapter One, the US bank, for £5.8bn, in order to expand its US-based Citizens subsidiary.

Vantis is to acquire the non-audit business of McBrides of Sidcup for up to £1.3m, in order to expand its corporate finance and taxation services.

Alliance & Leicester has sold its payment processing operation to Nova Information Systems of the US for £83m.

The Northern Ireland Department of Finance & Personnel is to acquire 156,000 sq ft of office space at the James House scheme in Belfast this year, in order to relocate staff from Victoria Square.

Admiral, the motor insurance group with about 1,500 staff, is planning a £600m flotation this autumn, and has also announced plans to create 50 more jobs in Cardiff and Swansea.

Supporta is to acquire SDMS & Co, the provider of payroll services, for up to £0.35m.

Bland Bankart, the East Midlands-based insurance broker with 260 staff, has been acquired by Oval in a deal estimated at £20m.

Benfield has sold Wildnet Group, a subsidiary that provides technology solutions to the insurance and reinsurance industry, to a consortium of private investors for a nominal sum.

Ultimate Finance, the Cheadle-based factoring and invoice discounting company, is to raise £0.5m in a share placing to fund the expansion of its sales force.

Budget Group is to create 50 jobs at its call centre in Sunderland, after its Junction division won a contract to provide motor insurance services to MBNA.

Myhomemove Conveyancing is planning to create 100 new jobs at its property conveyancing business in Leicestershire over the next year.

Churchill Insurance is to set up a personal loans business at Tannochside near Glasgow, with the creation of 100 jobs.

Close Brothers is looking to invest £100m of its new private equity fund in Scottish companies, in order to benefit from 3i's decision to scale back its Glasgow-based operation.

Legal & General is planning to relocate its London-based head office by 2007, and is considering sites of up to 180,000 sq ft at Basinghall Avenue and Aldermanbury Square.

Amity Direct is planning to create 40 jobs at its new mortgage offices in Edinburgh, Cardiff and London.

Colemans-ctts has acquired AXIS, the Birmingham-based claimant division of law firm Ricksons, for undisclosed terms, which will involve the transfer of 15 staff to its Walsall office.

Aberdeen Asset Management is to sell APII Group, its property investment management operations, to Arlington Securities and Arlington Investment Management for up to £50m.

Cartel is to create 100 new jobs at its Manchester-based mortgage broking business.

Norton Rose, the law firm, is planning to relocate its headquarters from Bishopsgate to a 300,000 sq ft office at the More London scheme by early 2007.

Corries Solicitors is relocating more than 200 York-based staff from four offices to a 37,000 sq ft site in Hospital Fields Road this month.

Royal Bank of Scotland is to create 1,000 jobs at NatWest branches across the country, as part of a £150m refurbishment programme.

American Life is planning to create 120 jobs in Northern Ireland and 200 in Scotland, as part of a 2,000-strong nationwide insurance sales force.

Capita Group has won a £430m contract to manage Child Trust Funds, which will involve the transfer of 100 jobs from The Children's Mutual and the creation of 100 new jobs in Gloucester.

Greater London Enterprise has sold GLE Development Capital, its private equity arm, to UK Matrix Group, creating a new fund management company called Matrix Private Equity Partners.

Travelex is to acquire GWK, the Dutch operator of 50 bank branches, from Fortis for £12m.

KBC Peel Hunt, the corporate adviser and stockbroker, is setting up an office in Birmingham in May, employing five brokers and two commercial lenders.

The Funding Corporation has acquired the block discounting operations of Abbey Business for £43m, as part of a strategy to expand its independent finance house into the business-to-business sector.

Duke Street Capital has sold its collateralised debt obligation funds business to David L Babson of the US for £42m.

SVB Holdings has acquired Credit Indemnity & Financial Services, which was established by Aon to underwrite trade credit insurance business on behalf of several Lloyd's syndicates.

The Money Centre is opening a new buy-to-let mortgage office in Sheffield, and hopes to expand the workforce from 12 to 36 over the next 18 months.

Drivers is to relocate its York-based legal practice and 12 staff to a three-storey building at Bootham.

Independent Mortgage Bureau is to expand the workforce at its Leicester head office from 20 to 30, while ten jobs will be created at new offices in Edinburgh and Belfast.

Sovereign Reversions is planning to raise £16m in a share placing on Aim to fund the development of its business providing equity release to home owners.

Raeburn Christie is to merge with Clark & Wallace to create a combined Aberdeen-based law firm with 110 staff.

Invaro, the legal expense insurer, is to relocate up to 250 staff to a new headquarters at Liverpool's Princes Dock in May.

Langleys, the Lincoln-based solicitor with 180 staff, is to relocate to a new building on Doddington Road by the end of the year.

Smart & Cook has secured £57m of venture capital to fund the expansion of its insurance broking and financial services business, which currently employs 340 staff at 13 offices.

Chiswell Associates, the wealth management group, has been sold by Nedcor to Swiss bank Sarasin for £21m.

Willis Group, the insurance broker, is to relocate about 1,400 staff to a new 420,000 sq ft office building on London's Lime Street in 2007.

Singer & Friedlander is to acquire the UK and Jersey-based fund management operations of Atlantic Wealth Management for about £20m.

Catlin is planning to raise £119m in a share offer to fund the expansion of its Lloyd's of London insurance business.

One Account is expanding its mortgage lending business by opening a new office in Norwich and recruiting 150 extra staff.

Bank of New York is looking to set up a new office in Manchester, and is seeking a site larger than 100,000 sq ft.

Giles Insurance has acquired Hamroy Insurance Development of Birmingham for £0.8m, and plans to spend £20m on acquisitions over the next five years.

Jardine Lloyd Thompson is looking to expand its insurance broking business by acquiring more companies overseas, and is particularly interested in the US and Heath Lambert's operations in Latin America.

Procurecard has raised £3m from Pi Capital to fund the expansion of its business that helps small companies secure discounts on the purchase of goods and services.

Irwin Mitchell, the law firm, is planning to expand its Newcastle office this year with the creation of up to 60 jobs.

Scott Goodman Harris, the London-based financial adviser with 25 staff, has been acquired by UBS Bank for undisclosed terms.

David McLean has won a £15m contract to refurbish 19 bank branches on Merseyside for Royal Bank of Scotland and Nat West.

Carole Nash has acquired the AA's motorcycle insurance business for undisclosed terms, which will lead to the creation of 20 jobs.

Vantis has acquired Redhead French, the Essex-based insolvency and business recovery firm, for an initial £3.5m.

Royal & Sun Alliance has sold its insurance operations in Peru to Rimac Internacional for about £12m.

Vega Insurance Services has acquired Abacans, the Preston-based insurance broker with 24 staff, for undisclosed terms.

Doncaster Council is to consider plans from Lazarus Properties to build a new five-storey town centre headquarters for Earth Finance, which would create 200 jobs.

Aviva is to sell the Bournemouth-based commercial insurance business of Hill House Hammond to Folgate Partnership for an estimated £15m, which will involve the transfer of 250 staff.

Michelmores, the Exeter-based law firm, is to relocate its 150-strong workforce to a new office at Woodwater Park in Pynes Hill by the end of the year.

Community Broking Group has acquired Cloughley Insurance Services, as part of a strategy to become a leading insurance broker in the Manchester area.

HIA International, the Coventry-based insurance firm with 26 staff and offices in Banbury and Bedford, has undergone a management buy-out for undisclosed terms.

HFS, the Macclesfield-based debt consolidation company with 300 staff, has undergone a £33m management buy-out and plans to create 65 new jobs at its call centre and mortgage division.

Tilney Investment Management is planning to acquire Cardales, the commercial property fund manager and London-based chartered surveying practice, for undisclosed terms.

Leopold Joseph, the London-based private bank with 120 staff, is to be acquired by Bermuda-based Bank of Butterfield for £51m.

Co-operative Financial Services is to create 500 jobs at call centres in Manchester, Stockport and Skelmersdale this year.

Royal Bank of Scotland is to acquire the US credit card operations of Connecticut-based People's Bank for £200m.

Department of Trade & Industry is planning to set up a £8m Consumer Direct call centre in Camborne, with the creation of 57 jobs.

Alliance & Leicester is recruiting 100 additional staff at call centres in Leicester and Narborough.

Cabot Financial, the provider of consumer debt services, is to undergo a £100m management buy-out backed by Barclays Private Equity.

HSBC is said to be planning to recruit 300 equity analysts over the next three years, as part of a strategy to expand its brokerage operations.

Secure Trust has acquired Roy Ashby Insurance Brokers of the West Midlands for up to £0.3m, in order to expand its SecureDirect Insurance Services subsidiary.

Admiral is to create 100 new jobs at its motor insurance operations in Cardiff and Swansea.

Herbert Smith, the law firm, is in negotiations to set up a 50,000 sq ft office at Exchange Square in London.

Legal & General is to create 50 new jobs in Cardiff in order to sell Sainsbury's-branded life insurance policies.

Berkeley Berry Birch is in merger discussions with Inter-Alliance Group, which could lead to the creation of the UK's largest network of independent financial advisers.

Charles Stanley is to acquire Fyshe Horton Finney, the Birmingham-based private client broker, for undisclosed terms.

Skipton Building Society's Homeloan Management division is to open a call centre in Londonderry later this year, with the creation of at least 240 jobs, in order to process mortgage applications.

Abbey National is planning to close its Scottish Provident life insurance office in Edinburgh, and some of the 900 staff will relocate to Glasgow.

Nationwide is to open a call centre in Sheffield this year with the creation of up to 180 jobs, and sites in Swindon and Northampton will be refurbished.

Laing & Cruickshank, the London-based private client broker, is to be sold by Credit Lyonnais to UBS of Switzerland for about £160m.

Lazard is to acquire Panmure Gordon, the London-based stockbroker, from WestLB for an estimated £10m, which will involve the transfer of about 70 staff.

Aegon UK has acquired Aurora Financial, the Canterbury-based independent financial adviser with about 100 staff, for undisclosed terms.

Jardine Lloyd Thompson has acquired HCC Employee Benefits, the Texas-based insurance broker, for £35m, in order to expand its Capital Risk division in the US.

Sainsbury is planning to install 70 more banking areas in its stores this year, with the creation of about 100 jobs, following a trial in 30 stores.

Jelf Group has acquired Pontin & Stein, the Cardiff-based specialist private medical insurance intermediary, for undisclosed terms.

Hiscox is planning to set up an insurance claims centre in a 20,000sq ft building in Colchester, with the creation of 20 jobs.