UK - Jardine Lloyd Thompson sees a “reducing number” of outsourced providers in the occupational pension administration market.

The comments came as the firm revealed a nine percent rise in employee benefits revenue last year.

“We aim to consolidate our position among the leading providers of services in relation to traditional occupational pension schemes and we see the operation and administration of such schemes becoming the preserve of a reducing number of outsourced service providers,” JLT stated in its 2004 earnings report.

“While this is a 'legacy business' it will continue to be required for decades to come and therefore provides long-term and predictable revenue.”

It said its UK employee benefits business “continues to expand” as a provider of services in relation to the pension and benefit programmes and products that companies are increasingly using as integral parts of their continuing HR strategies.

It said that software provider Profund, which it bought in 2004, was “trading strongly”. The vast majority of its customer relationships had been retained.

Employee benefits revenue grew by nine percent to £82.9m while pre-tax profit at the arm rose 20% to £11.7m.

Overall, JLT made a pre-tax profit of £99.8m, down from £110.5m in 2003.

“The trading environment in the second half of the year was difficult,” said executive chairman Ken Carter. “While most of the Group's operations performed well, JLT Risk Solutions' profits suffered due to internal and external factors.”

He was referring in part to a probe into the insurance market by New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, which hit rival Marsh & McLennan.

“We believe that the action taken against Marsh & McLennan by the New York Attorney General last October and the settlement agreed between them in January 2005 will transform the way the insurance broking industry operates,” Carter said.