Marsh & McLennan Cos Inc , the second-largest global insurance broker, posted a first-quarter profit on Wednesday, reversing a year-earlier loss, as lower costs helped offset a decline in revenue.

The company's largest division, risk and insurance services, posted an 8 percent decline in revenue to $1.4 billion. Consulting segment revenue fell even more steeply, by 16 percent to $1.1 billion.

Helping to cushion the bottom line was a reduction in expenses of more than 25 percent, to $2.23 billion from $3.13 billion a year earlier.

Net profit was $176 million, or 33 cents a share, compared with a net loss of $210 million, or 40 cents per share, a year earlier, when the company took a large goodwill charge.

On an adjusted basis, the company earned 40 cents a share, 3 cents below analysts' average forecast, according to Reuters Estimates. Consolidated revenue fell 13 percent to $2.6 billion, missing expectations of $2.95 billion.

Marsh & McLennan said it had an investment loss in the period stemming from $15 million in market valuation declines of private equity fund investments.

Both Marsh & McLennan and its larger rival, Aon Corp , have been aggressively cutting costs as fee and commission income has been constrained by lower insurance pricing and changes in what they are permitted to charge clients.

Aon last week posted higher first-quarter profit despite lower revenue. But adjusted profit missed expectations, sending its shares lower.

Marsh & McLennan shares closed down 6 cents at $20.59 on Tuesday and were unchanged in premarket trading Wednesday.

(Reporting by Lilla Zuill; editing by John Wallace)