... while John Quigley argues that authorisation offers many opportunities

It has been anticipated that the application and approval process for FSA authorisation would initiate a period of opportunity, positive rationalisation and consolidation of smaller entities.

FSA regulation would also see the disappearance of those businesses that were only marginally viable. These firms would have been totally unsuited to the new robust environment that requires attainment of high standards of governance and financial fortitude, among other key attributes.

Consolidation has in past months been most noticeable among the high street or retail intermediaries where units are smaller and more numerous.

But after tomorrow the circling acquisitors may stand back from their potential quarry and see what emerges of its own accord. Most prominent will be those that have failed to secure FSA authorisation.

The expectation from this activity is that it will create a stronger and more professional marketplace where clients' interests are promoted and protected.

It should also herald a new era of good management culture, in which staff are recognised as valued assets of the organisation and treated accordingly. This in turn will fire their enthusiasm and commitment as stakeholders in their companies, which again benefits clients.

New gold standard
Those firms that have the ability and will to commit to the new 'gold standard', so they create a noticeably professional platform have an opportunity to draw in new likeminded talent to their teams as never before - and not just for the sake of a 10% pay rise.

This kind of dynamic amalgamation of talents, knowledge and experience may create some interesting and exciting organisations.

Facing some of the same and some differing issues, the Lloyd's broker community has even more to do also creating additional opportunity. As international intermediaries with broader business bases the management of their businesses and staff is more complex.

Clients are also going to be more alert to these issues and may not select and support their insurance advisers and brokers purely on best price or slick presentation.

Some also venture to suggest that the brandishing of this cerebral weaponry will make it easier for small and medium size international brokers to displace the mega brokers again. Major corporate insureds could sweep aside physical size as a valid criteria for representative selection.

Professional pride
What follows next is that the industry begins to consider itself as a profession, taking pride in its abilities, its standing in and contribution to the community.

If this becomes the norm it also follows that the swiftly growing pool of young graduate recruits may view our industry with equal high regard as the law, banking and equity and commodity markets.

But in getting there it would be extremely short-sighted and foolish to cast out the intellectual property of hard learned experience residing with the more mature practitioner.

In summary, professionalism will shortly be recognised as the tangible asset that will be the difference between average and excellent.

This new tangible asset will find ways of being measured and will of course also translate into the more traditional form of asset value - shareholder value.

So it would seem that all stakeholders in the relationship, from the Treasury, through to shareholders, employees, insurers, and policyholders, become winners. IT

' John Quigley works in risk and regulatory control at Loddon Consulting.