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Financial Services - 2005






















IFG Group has acquired Bank of Scotland Trust Company, the Jersey-based provider of trust and company administration services, for up to £6.8m.

Ernst & Young is planning to expand the workforce in its consulting division from 120 to 300 by the end of 2006.

Vebnet has raised £1m in a share placing to fund the expansion of its Edinburgh-based employee benefit solutions business.

CPP Group, the provider of insurance plans for credit card holders, has secured £25m of funding to expand in Europe and Asia and to improve facilities at its York headquarters.

Henderson Group is to sell Towry Law, the independent financial adviser and general insurance broker, to JS&P Holdings for £37m.

BDO Stoy Hayward is planning to expand the 100-strong workforce at its business services office in Leeds by 20% over the next six months.

HBOS is to set up a 30,000 sq ft Halifax Home Insurance claims centre at the NG2 business park in Nottingham next October, with the relocation of 100 jobs from Kegworth and the creation of 200 new jobs.

HBOS is planning to open its biggest Bank of Scotland branch at Argyle Street in Glasgow in 2007, employing 65 staff, but three existing city centre sites would close.

Lloyds TSB is to sell its Goldfish credit card business to Morgan Stanley of the US for £1bn.

Egg is to create 300 new jobs at its internet banking call centre in Derby, taking the total workforce to 2,000.

ClearDebt, the Manchester-based debt solutions company, is to be acquired by Carrwood in a £3m reverse takeover.

Morgan Stanley is to acquire Advantage Home Loans, the Ellesmere Port-based mortgage arranging company with 150 staff, for undisclosed terms.

Arlington, the property fund management company, has been acquired by Macquarie Goodman of Australia for about £200m.

XKO Group is to acquire Powerdebt, the Birmingham-based revenue assurance and debt management company.

Lewis Silkin, the law firm, is said to be planning to set up a 85,000 sq ft office at 5 Chancery Lane in London.

BDO Stoy Hayward, the accountancy firm, is planning to set up a 165,000 sq ft office at the former M&S headquarters in Baker Street.

Aquilo has sold its AccidentCare membership services business to Broker Assistance for £0.4m, as part of on ongoing partnership between the two companies in the provision of claims handling, credit hire and credit repair services.

Greatfleet, the London-based financial recruitment company trading as Fleet Search, has been acquired by Longbridge International in a reverse takeover.

KPMG is said to be in discussions to set up a 120,000 sq ft regional headquarters at Snow Hill in Birmingham.

KPMG is to create 30 new jobs at its tax practice in Glasgow, due to rising demand for its personal self-assessment tax returns service.

Clarke Wilmott, the law firm, is to relocate its Southampton office to a 20,000 sq ft site at Botley Grange, and the workforce will rise from 90 to at least 125 over the next three years.

Syndicate Asset Management is to acquire Investment Management Holdings for about £7.6m.

Man Group has sold the European operations of the recently-acquired Refco brokerage business to Marathon Asset Management of the US for undisclosed terms.

Axa is to recruit 100 extra staff at its office in Ipswich, in order to provide insurance services for the Lloyds TSB Insurance travel account.

Citigroup, the US financial services company, is to relocate 120 Belfast-based staff to a new 38,000 sq ft site in the city's Titanic Quarter next September, and is still aiming to create 255 jobs over the next four years.

AssetCo Group, the asset management services company with 402 staff in Belfast, Reading, London and Papworth, has undergone a management buy-out for undisclosed terms.

Glasgow City Council and Scottish Enterprise Glasgow are planning to pool some of their resources and seek a suitable site for the creation a one-stop shop for business advice and support.

Sagitta Asset Management has been acquired by Fleming Family & Partners for undisclosed terms, with the transfer of ten staff.

ADVFN is to acquire Equity Holdings, the equity research company, for up to £1.5m.

Nationwide Building Society is to set up a new call centre at an undisclosed site in Wakefield, with the creation of 300 jobs.

Herbert Smith, the law firm, is to set up a 40,000 sq ft office at City Gate House on London's Finsbury Square.

Cavendish Grant is to merge with Chartwell to create a combined Bath-based financial services group with 60 staff.

Begbies Traynor has acquired W3 Debt Solutions, the Chorley-based debt company with 15 staff, for an initial £1.4m.

Vantis has acquired the non-audit business of Harrow-based Booth Anderson Chester for an initial £0.6m.

Buckles Solicitors, the Peterborough-based law firm, is to relocate 100 staff to the Bourges Boulevard next spring.

Bank of New York has announced plans to double the size of its new Manchester operation, with the site employing 350 staff by the end of 2006 and 750 in a few years.

Liberata is to set up a council tax and state benefits call centre in Barrow, which will employ 200 staff.

Yorkshire Bank is to open a new flagship branch in the centre of Leeds in January, and 18 staff will relocate from two existing branches.

OGC Buying Solutions, the government procurement service, is to create 20 new jobs in Liverpool over the next few weeks.

Lighthouse Group has acquired Carrwood Barker, the firm of 40 independent financial advisers with offices in Manchester and Milton Keynes, for an initial £3.3m.

Noble Investments is planning to acquire Baldwins, the London-based coin dealer and auctioneer, for £4.5m.

Aegis Defence Services has acquired Rubicon International Services, the security risk management company, for undisclosed terms.

National Assembly for Wales is providing financial support to Contact Centres UK to set up a new financial services and legal call centre in Bridgend, with the creation of 50 jobs.

The Financial Services Skills Council is planning to set up a National Financial Services Academy in September 2006, including an initial three centres in Manchester, Norwich and London.

Admiral is to create 250 jobs at its motor insurance business in Swansea over the next three years, and will relocate from the city centre to the 40,000 sq ft Cyprium waterfront scheme next spring.

Neteller has acquired Netinvest and its Netbanx subsidiary, the Cambridge-based payment service provider, from Transact Group for £12m.

Ulster Bank is to invest £50m in branch improvements over the next three years, including 90 sites in Northern Ireland and 120 in the Republic.

GMAC Financial Services is to create 100 new jobs at its car finance business in Nantgarw, near Caerphilly, by the end of the year.

Noble Fund Managers has acquired Sitka, the London-based development capital firm, for undisclosed terms.

Davenham, the specialist finance company, is planning to raise £27m in a flotation on Aim, in order to fund acquisitions and expansion into new regions.

Barclaycard is said to be planning to set up a 100,000 sq ft office at the Spinningfields development in Manchester.

BDO Stoy Hayward, the accountancy firm, is to set up a 20,700 sq ft office at Ocean Village in Southampton.

Campbell Dallas is to merge with MacMillan & Co of Glasgow, creating a combined accountancy group with annual turnover of more than £8m.

Intrum Justitia is creating 40 new jobs at its debt collection and credit management services call centre in Liverpool.

Direct Legal & Collections is looking to create up to 250 jobs at its new debt collection call centre in Brackley.

Consensus Business Group, the finance and property group, is to set up a 33,000 sq ft headquarters for 200 staff at 35 Park Lane, London.

Hazell Carr, the financial services outsourcing company, is relocating up to 300 staff from Newport to a new 22,500 sq ft office in Cardiff.

Bank of New York is to acquire 80% of Alcentra, the London-based fund manager, for an estimated £172m.

Tata Consultancy Services of India is to set up its first outsourcing operation in the UK having won a contract to provide back-office services for Pearl Assurance, which will involve the transfer of 950 Peterborough-based staff.

Bridgewell has bought the UK equity capital markets operation of US-based Robert W Baird for almost £10m.

GE Consumer Finance is seeking a suitable location in the Midlands to set up a 100,000 sq ft office and call centre, in order to consolidate a number of existing offices onto one site.

Gateley Wareing is to merge with Henderson Boyd Jackson to create a combined law firm called HBJ Gateley Wareing with offices in Birmingham, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leicester and Nottingham.

Leeds Group has sold Leeds Leasing, its equipment leasing division, to Bibby Asset Finance for £5m.

Broker Network Holdings has acquired THB Northern of Leeds, in order to expand its network of independent community insurance brokers.

Highway Insurance Holdings has acquired MRB Insurance Brokers, the Romford-based personal lines intermediary that trades as 1st Quote, for an initial £6.6m.

Retail Decisions is to acquire Fuelserv, the fuel payment card operator, from DHL Distribution for £22m.

Your Move is to acquire Reeds Rains, the chain of 130 estate agents with 729 staff, through parent company Lending Solutions for about £22m.

PricewaterhouseCoopers, the professional services firm, expects to recruit about 400 new staff at its Birmingham-based Midlands division during the current financial year.

Ashworth Mairs Group, the Merseyside-based loss adjuster with more than 250 staff at ten regional offices, has undergone a £62m management buy-out backed by Hermes Private Equity.

Oxford University is linking up with 50 companies to set up a £5m business tax research centre by September 2006.

Alliance Trust Savings is to acquire Wolanski & Co Trustees, including a SIPP and SSAS pensions administration business and 50 London-based staff.

The Funding Corporation is to create hundreds of jobs at its Chester-based car loans business, having won a new 10-year contract to work with almost 200 Subaru, Daihatsu and Isuzu dealers.

Intelli, the Edinburgh-based corporate finance boutique with 16 staff, has been acquired by Iimia Investment Group for about £5m.

Barclays is to create 250 new jobs at its customer services call centre at the Doxford International Business Park in Sunderland by the end of the year.

Harrowell Shaftoe is to merge with Ashworth Tetlow, creating a combined Yorkshire-based legal firm with 160 staff.

Direct Line has confirmed plans to relocate about 900 staff from three Glasgow offices to Atlantic Quay by next spring, and 200 new jobs will be created at the site by 2008.

Standard Life is to relocate the headquarters of its Standard Life Healthcare division and 350 jobs from Guildford to Bournemouth, following the acquisition of Bournemouth-based FirstAssist Insurance for undisclosed terms.

Millfield Group, the financial services advisory group, is to sell its international division to de Vere Holding Company for £0.8m.

Grant Thornton, the accountancy firm, is planning to set up a 25,000 sq ft office at Whitehall Riverside in Leeds.

Corries Solicitors, the York-based legal insurance cover firm with 250 staff, has been acquired by newly-formed Minster Law, which is backed by Budget Insurance of Peterborough.

Tenon has acquired Marchands, the Huddersfield-based insolvency firm, for undisclosed terms.

The Child Support Agency is to create 200 new jobs in Kirkcaldy by next April, and many of the vacancies will be offered to former Jobcentre Plus staff.

Imprint is to acquire Accreate, the Irish financial recruitment company, for an initial £2m.

Dunedin Capital Partners of Edinburgh is to acquire Sand Aire Private Equity of London for undisclosed terms.

Lombard Risk Management is to acquire STB Systems, the London-based supplier of compliance automation systems, for an initial £2m.

Broker Network Holdings has acquired Whitehouse Woodall Reeves, the Birmingham-based general insurance broker.

Zurich Financial Services has sold Claims Management Group, the provider of outsourced claims management services with 550 staff at 12 international offices, to Sovereign Capital Partners for undisclosed terms.

Accuma Group is to acquire Wilson Phillips, the Blackburn-based personal insolvency firm with 23 staff, for £3.3m.

Islamic Bank of Britain is looking to expand its branch network from six to 13, having just opened a new site in Birmingham.

Marshall Wooldridge has acquired Kay Hardman Insurance Brokers of Leeds for undisclosed terms.

XKO is to acquire UBM, the provider of billing validation and debt management services with 45 staff, for up to £47m.
19-Aug-2005, the loans company with more than 400 staff in Watford and Preston, has been acquired by MBNA.

Rightmove, the internet-based company that advertises homes for sale, has appointed UBS to consider plans for an initial public offering, which could value the business at £200m.

State Street Bank of the US is to set up a new 320,000 sq ft office at Canary Wharf in London in 2008.

HSBC has acquired Metris, the US credit card company, for £898m.

Begbies Traynor has acquired Taylor, Gotham & Fry, the Essex-based provider of insolvency services, for an initial £3m.

Royal & Sun Alliance has sold Viking Insurance, its US-based non-standard auto insurance business, to Sentry for £114m.

Axa of France is to acquire the Framlington fund management group from HSBC and Comerica for £178m.

Broadcastle, the independent bank, has been acquired by Siemens Financial for £42m.

Capita has acquired BDML Connect, the personal lines insurance company, for £26m.

First Artist Corporation is to acquire ABG Financial Management, the provider of advice to celebrities, for £3m.

Premierline Direct is to expand its insurance call centre in Lancaster, with the creation of 50 jobs.

Smith & Williamson is looking to create up to 30 jobs at a new financial services office in Glasgow over the next 12 months.

Tenon has acquired Skene & Co, the Aberdeen-based accountancy firm with 16 staff.

Cardpoint is to acquire Moneybox in a £87m reverse takeover, creating a combined network of about 5,000 UK-based cash machines.

Oval Insurance has acquired Lochain Patrick, the Lloyd's insurance broker, for about £7m, and the new group will be called Lochain Patrick Oval International.

Broker Network Holdings has acquired two Lincolnshire-based insurance brokerages - Harrow Insurance Consultants and David Christian Insurance Brokers.

Aberdeen Asset Management is to acquire two fund management operations from Deutsche Asset Management, including the London and Philadelphia-based fixed income businesses and the Oeic business, funded by a £215m rights issue.

Broker Network Holdings has acquired Fraser Tennant, the Stirling-based insurance broker, for up to £2.8m.

Jelf Group has acquired the financial services business of Crowther Beard, the accountancy group with offices in Herefordshire, Gloucestershire and Worcestershire.

MBNA, the credit card company with 4,000 staff in Chester, is to be acquired by Bank of America in a £20bn deal.

Dryden Wealth Management, the private wealth manager, has been acquired by Fortis for £57m.

Alsters Kelley Solicitors, the Coventry-based law firm with 185 staff, has merged with Richards, Heynes & Coopers.

Smart & Cook has acquired Hammon Osborne, the Northampton-based insurance broker with about 40 staff, for undisclosed terms.

Dipford Group has acquired Kings Business Transfer, the Manchester-based business broker, for £2.1m.

The Department for Work & Pensions is to set up a 36,000 sq ft office for the Pensions Regulator at Trafalgar Place in Brighton.

Kaupthing, the Icelandic bank, is planning to set up a 95,000 sq ft office in London's Mayfair, and is expected to relocate 400 recently-acquired Singer & Friedlander staff from the City.

Lloyds TSB is to set up a new 100,000 sq ft office for its wholesale banking division at 10 Gresham Street in the City of London.

Littlewoods is to create 300 jobs at its new financial services call centre in Liverpool over the next six months.

First Locate, the debt recovery company, is planning to set up a call centre in Scarborough, with the creation of up to 80 jobs.

RAB Capital is to acquire Cross Asset Management, the London-based investment management company, for £9.5m.

UBS, the Swiss bank, is to expand its Broadgate office in London by taking an extra 80,000 sq ft.

HBOS is to acquire the life assurance business of MLP of Germany for up to £216m, in order to expand its Clerical Medical division.

Churchill Insurance is to create 40 new jobs at its sales and customer services call centre in Peterborough.

Moorhouse Group is looking to spend £5m on acquisitions to expand its Caerphilly-based insurance broking business.

Britannic Group is to merge with Resolution Life Group, creating a combined closed life fund business valued at about £1.8bn.

Aviva, the insurance company, is to relocate 800 Glasgow-based call centre staff to a new site nearby next year.

Royal Bank of Scotland is to open a call centre with up to 700 staff at Atlantic Quay in Glasgow, replacing two existing sites for its Direct Line and Churchill insurance operations.

Chesnara has acquired City of Westminster Assurance Company from Irish Life & Permanent for £47m.

Windsor has acquired Anthony K Falcon, the London-based insurance broker, for up to £4.2m.

Kester Cunningham John, the law firm, is to set up a new 7,000 sq ft office at the Meridian Business Park in Norwich by the end of the year.

Smith & Williamson has merged with Bristol-based Soloman Hare, creating a combined accounting and financial advisory firm with annual turnover of £120m.

Debtmatters is planning to raise £3m in a flotation on Aim to fund the expansion of its consumer debt advice business.

Friends Provident is to sell Isis Equity Partners to its 37-strong investment staff for up to £10m.

Fortis Insurance is to create a further 150 jobs at its offices in Eastleigh and Gloucester, having won a contract from Age Concern.

London & Country Mortgages of Bath is looking to recruit a further 40 mortgage advisers this year.

BiB Group is planning to double the size of its Darlington-based insurance business over the next five years, with the creation of 20 jobs.

Britannia Building Society is to acquire 97 Bristol & West bank branches from Bank of Ireland in a £150m deal, and about 32 branches are expected to close with the rest being rebranded as Britannia.

Jelf Group has acquired RK Harrison Insurance of Taunton for £1m.

Bank Machine, the Hatfield-based ATM operator with 50 staff, has been acquired by Cardtronics of the US.

Helix Associates, the private equity fund placement firm with 17 staff, has been acquired by Jefferies Group of the US for undisclosed terms.

Yorkshire Bank is looking to expand its senior management team in Liverpool, with vacancies in asset finance, acquisition funding, wealth management and treasury solutions.

JP Morgan, the financial services firm, is opening a new office with up to 40 staff at Temple Square in Liverpool this month.

ACCA, the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants, expects to create a further 50 jobs to add to the 250 at its new Central Quay office in Glasgow.

Benfield, the reinsurance company, is looking to relocate its headquarters from the existing 100,000 sq ft office in Bishopsgate to a 150,000 sq ft site.

Whiteley Insurance Consultants of Halifax has been sold by its liquidators, with Travel & General Insurance Company acquiring the travel business and WY Risk Management acquiring the commercial insurance division.

Halliwells is planning to double the size of its Liverpool office over the next three years, following its recent merger with Cuff Roberts.

Barclays is to acquire a 60% stake in Absa, the South African bank, for £2.9bn, and will integrate the business with its existing operations in other African countries.

Begbies Traynor has acquired MCF Corporate Finance of Leeds for £3.7m.

GUS has acquired Lowermybills of the US for £174m, in order to expand its Experian consumer credit data business.

Telecom Service Centres is to create up to 80 jobs at its call centre in Aviemore, having won a new tele-banking contract from HSBC.

Vantis is to acquire Numerica, the accountancy services group, for £16m, while Numerica offices in Bristol, Manchester and Southampton are being acquired by BDO Stoy Hayward for £12m.

Reynolds Porter Chamberlain, the law firm, is seeking a suitable site for a 100,000 sq ft office in London EC3, and hopes to relocate by the end of 2006.

Holman Fenwick & Willan, the law firm, is looking to set up a new 70,000 sq ft office in London EC3.

Cox, the motorcycle insurer, is to accept a £298m takeover offer from a management team backed by Englefield Capital and Duke Street Capital.

Singer & Friedlander, the London-based merchant bank, is to be acquired by Kaupthing of Iceland for £547m.

Killik & Co is to expand its stockbroking and financial planning offices in Ipswich with the creation of 40 jobs.

Hitachi Capital is to merge its Leeds-based consumer finance division with its Horsforth-based credit management and insurance services divisions, and the combined business will relocate to new offices in Leeds.

Crutes is planning to recruit an additional 30 staff at its Newcastle-based law firm this year.

Hunton & Williams is planning to relocate its London-based law firm to a 25,000 sq ft office at the Swiss Re Tower.

MBNA Europe, the credit card company, is to set up an in-house transactional printing operation at its Chester headquarters, with the creation of 80 jobs.

Credit Services Europe is planning to create 100 new jobs at its Shadow debt recovery business in Cwmbran over the next four years.

Travelex has acquired the banknotes and travellers cheques business of Brown Shipley for undisclosed terms.

Hogg Robinson is to sell its benefits and consultancy services business to Duke Street Capital for an estimated £120m, in order to focus on corporate travel.

Adrian Flux Insurance has acquired Herts Insurance Consultants, the Bishop's Stortford-based provider of insurance for modified cars with 40 staff.

Barclays is to acquire a majority stake in Fiat's Iveco vehicle finance and leasing business for £67m.

Beachcroft Wansbroughs, the law firm, is said to be looking to set up a new 100,000 sq ft office in Bristol to consolidate its existing sites.

The Funding Corporation has acquired two credit and leasing businesses from Five Arrows Leasing Group for undisclosed terms - County Leasing & Finance of Swansea and Benton Finance of Newcastle-upon-Tyne.

Larking Gowen has expanded its accountancy operations in East Anglia by acquiring Martin Wright & Co of Colchester and Unica of Ipswich.

Admiral Group is recruiting 100 additional staff for its insurance call centres in Swansea and Cardiff this month.

Broker Network Holdings is to acquire Wyndale Insurance Brokers of Bury, Lancashire.

GE Consumer Finance is to set up a new call centre at the Cobalt Business Park on North Tyneside in May, with the creation of up to 150 jobs.

HSBC Private Bank is planning to recruit 120 private bankers and open its first regional offices in Birmingham, Leeds and Cardiff over the next few months.

Libertas Capital has acquired Riddar Capital for £1.9m, and plans to establish Riddar as a specialist independent investment research company.

Imprint Search & Selection is planning to acquire Morgan McKinley, the London-based financial services recruitment company, for up to £24m.

Aquilo has acquired HFC Select, the Edinburgh-based supplier of claims validation and supply chain services, for £0.2m.

The Homebuyers Advice Centre is to relocate its mortgages business and 30 staff from Bolton to Chorley in May, with the creation of 50 new jobs.

International Risk Consultants of Glasgow has acquired TDF Credit Insurance Services for more than £1m.

Tilney, the Liverpool-based asset management company, is to undergo a management buy-out backed by Bridgepoint for an estimated £125m.

Clay Shaw Thomas is relocating its accountancy firm and 45 staff to a new site at Bocam Park in Bridgend.

Community Broking Group has acquired Exius, the Manchester-based provider of insurance premium finance, for up to £0.3m.

Close Brothers is to acquire Seydler, the German market maker and broker, for £17m.

Martin Aitken & Co, the Glasgow-based accountancy, is to merge with Wm Lockhart & Co, and 19 Lockhart staff will relocate from its office in West Nile Street.

Quinn-Direct is to create about 90 new jobs at its insurance business in Manchester.

Euromoney Institutional Investor has acquired CEIC Holdings, the Hong Kong-based provider of economic data, for up to £18m.

Chesterton has sold 16 London-based residential estate agencies out of receivership to CIC International for about £1m.

Chesterton is to sell five commercial property offices in London, Newcastle, Cardiff, Southampton and Leeds out of receivership to Atisreal, securing the future of 115 staff.

Britannic Group is to acquire Century Group for £44m, in order to expand its Britannic Unit Linked Assurance division.

Coface is to extend the office space at its risk information department in Birmingham, and the workforce will rise from six to 12.

The Scottish Executive is to relocate 100 jobs at the Accountant in Bankruptcy agency from Edinburgh to Ayrshire, and several sites are being considered in the Irvine Bay area.

Bcwgroup is to acquire credit management firm Apex for about £5m, and plans to create about 100 new jobs at the Apex base in Stratford-upon-Avon.

HSBC is planning to reorganise its investment research business with the creation of about 50 jobs for analysts in London, New York and Hong Kong over the next six months.

Wragge & Co is to relocate its 15-strong private client team to the Birmingham office of law firm Mills & Reeve in May.

Newcastle Building Society is considering plans to relocate its headquarters and 855 staff to a larger site outside the city, and will consider business parks in North Tyneside.

Co-operative Insurance Society has confirmed plans to create 120 jobs at a new call centre at its head office in Manchester.

Brabners Chaffe Street, the law firm, is looking to relocate its 50 Manchester-based staff to a larger site in the city centre.

Motaquote Insurance, the Rhondda Valley-based insurance broker with 16 branches and 120 staff, has undergone a management buy-in for about £5m, and will be renamed ProtectaGroup.

Lloyds TSB is to create about 200 customer service jobs at its insurance operation in Newport, South Wales, over the next four months.

Bank of Ireland has sold its Chase de Vere independent financial advice business to AWD of Germany for £21m.

Aon is to set up a travel insurance call centre in Leicester, with the creation of 120 jobs.

Travelex, the foreign exchange group with 670 branches worldwide, is to be sold to Apax Partners for £690m.

Abbey is to spend £8.5m rebranding its 726 branches to include the logo of its Spanish owner Santander Central Hispano, and also plans to increase the number of sales staff in branches by 30%.

Bartercard, the trade exchange, has been acquired by Universal Direct for £65m.

The National Assembly for Wales is to set up regional offices for more than 1,000 staff in Llandudno Junction and Aberystwyth over the next three years, with 300 of the jobs being relocated from Cardiff.

Tenon has acquired Convyclark, the Kirkcaldy-based accounting firm, for undisclosed terms.

Policy Administration Services, the Crewe-based provider of administrative facilities for the insurance services of the Caudwell Group, is planning to create up to 2,000 jobs over the next five years.

WH Ireland is planning to expand its financial services operations in Manchester and relocate to a larger site in London this year.

Sunderland Marine, the insurance company, is to relocate up to 75 staff from Sunderland to a new £5m headquarters in Durham in June.

Avon UK is looking to recruit a further 20,000 people to its direct salesforce, and may expand its product range by offering life insurance, motor insurance and credit cards.

Begbies Traynor has acquired A Segal & Co, the Essex-based insolvency practice, for £0.5m, and most of Segal's staff will relocate to Begbies Traynor's London office.

Prestbury has acquired Blue Pearl, the mortgage and general insurance network with 50 appointed representative firms authorising 93 individual advisers, for £0.3m plus shares.

Debt Free Direct is to raise £8.5m in a share placing to fund the expansion of its consumer debt advice business.

Nymex of the US is planning to open an energy futures trading floor in London this year.

Charles Stanley is set to acquire Rowan Dartington, the Bristol-based stockbroker with six offices, for an estimated £8m.

Credit Centre UK is looking to recruit an additional 30 staff for its West Midlands-based finance business, with vacancies for administrators, mortgage sales professionals and call centre staff.

WCWB (Walker, Crips, Weddle, Beck) is to acquire G&E Investment Services, the York-based provider of investment advice, for an initial £1.2m.

Cantor Fitzgerald is planning to relocate its London headquarters from America Square to a 109,000 sq ft office at Canary Wharf in London.

FTSE, the independent data and indices company, is to relocate from London's Fore Street to a 26,000 sq ft office at Canary Wharf.

Hiscox is to acquire Insurex Expo-Sure, the Tunbridge Wells-based event insurance company, from Alexander Forbes for £2.4m.

Lloyds TSB is creating 100 jobs at its Shareview stockbroking division in Edinburgh, which could involve the relocation of some staff from London.

De Montfort Insurance Company, the surety specialist with 80 staff in Leicester and 20 in London, has been acquired by HCC Insurance Holdings of the US.

Barclaycard is to invest £76m expanding its credit cards business into Sweden and Norway, having formed a joint venture with Swedbank.

Group 4 Securicor is to sell Scotland-based Group 4 Falck Cash Services UK and its Luxembourg-based operation to Brink's for £20m.

The Department for Work & Pensions is planning to set up a Welsh-language Jobcentre call centre with 250 staff at the Parc Menai business park near Bangor by 2006.

Jelf Group has acquired Arnold Wills, the Somerset-based independent financial advisor, for undisclosed terms.

Hill Dickinson, the law firm, is said to be considering plans to relocate its three Liverpool offices and up to 700 staff to the £100m St Paul's Square development in 2006.

CCS Enforcement Services, the Bromsgrove-based debt enforcement company that employs 110 bailiffs and about 100 support staff, has undergone a management buy-out backed by Barclays Ventures.

Citigroup has shortlisted Scotland as a potential location for the expansion of its administration and global custody business, which could create hundreds of jobs.

Teather & Greenwood, the stockbroker, is to be acquired by Landsbanki of Iceland for £43m.

Durlacher is planning to merge with the Panmure Gordon stockbroking division of Lazard, and the combined 160-strong workforce will be based at Durlacher's Moorgate office.

Royal Bank of Scotland is to relocate the London office of its Adam & Company private banking business to a new £9.2m site in Mayfair.

Barclays has started to relocate its 5,000 head office staff from the City of London to Canary Wharf, and the move should be completed by May.

CBRE is to acquire Nelson Bakewell, the 330-strong chain of property agents, for about £22m.

Bartercard is looking to open three trade exchange franchise operations in the North West, with the creation of up to 150 jobs.

The Funding Corporation has announced the creation of 250 jobs in its Chester-based call centre, customer service and administration departments.

HypoVereinsbank, the German bank, is planning to set up a new UK headquarters on five floors of the Moorhouse building in London EC2.

Barclays Bank is planning to acquire the French wealth business of ING Securities Bank, including ING Ferri and ING Private Banking, creating a combined group with more than 50 branches.

Western Mortgage Services is to create up to 90 new jobs at its mortgage administration business in Plymouth this year.

Albany Group is to create more than 100 new jobs at its insurance services call centre in Peterlee this year.

Watson Wyatt, the Surrey-based financial services consultancy, is to be acquired by US sister company Watson Wyatt & Company for £243m.

The Department for Work & Pensions is planning to set up an office for the Financial Assistance Scheme at Monks Cross in York, and some of the 100 staff may transfer from the existing pensions operation that is due to close in March.

East Riding Council is considering plans to outsource some of its administrative functions to Arvato, which could lead to the transfer of 500 jobs and the creation of 650 new jobs in Hull over the next four years.
17-Jan-2005 is to create 65 new jobs at its credit broking call centre in Preston.

Close Brothers has acquired the commercial asset finance operations of Cattles for £70m.

HSBC is planning to open 150 branches and recruit 1,000 commercial bankers in France this year, as part of a rebranding of the business.

Stepquick has acquired Lithgow Nelson, the accountancy practice with offices in Southport and Preston, for £0.6m.

Murgitroyd Group has acquired David WJ Castle & Co, the London-based patent and trade mark attorney practice, for £3.3m.

Thomas Westcott, the accountancy firm, is to relocate its 60 Exeter-based staff to a new headquarters at Southernhay later this year.

Moorhouse Group, the Caerphilly-based insurance company, is planning to expand its workforce from 76 to about 130 this year.

THB Group has acquired Carter Gilbrook, the Essex-based insurance broker, for an initial £0.3m.

HSA Group has acquired BCWA, the Bristol-based medical insurance company, for undisclosed terms.