The process of raising fresh capital on an annual basis will not be abolished under proposed changes to the financial structure of Lloyd's, the corporation has insisted.

The Lloyd's franchise board met recently to discuss changes to the market's capital regime, including examining the future of the 'annual venture'.

There had been suggestions Lloyd's was being urged by the Lloyd's Market Association (LMA) to abandon the process in favour of a bourse or stock exchange system.

But a Lloyd's spokeswoman said there were "no plans on the table" to scrap it.

She said: "There was a good discussion of the annual venture and a number of issues were raised. The next step is to explore these issues further and investigate ways to improve the operating structure and timetable."

A spokesman for the LMA added: "It is quite a sensitive subject. We have produced a paper as a contribution to Lloyd's work on the annual venture and that paper was considered by the Franchise Board."

The corporation said it would examine the capital requirements of Lloyd's within its 40-page document Building the Optimal Platform, which includes proposals on tax and the annual venture.

Chris Hitchings, financial analyst with investment bank Keefe, Bruyette & Woods, warned Lloyd's investors that it would be "unwise" to ignore the current debate.

He said: "The participation of private capital through the annual venture is not a costly anachronism but the essential driver of the efficient capital structure and the superior returns earned by these businesses."

Nigel Hanbury, managing director of Lloyd's members' agency Hampden Private Capital said without the annual venture Lloyd's would struggle to remain as a mutual market place.

"The annual venture is the only way third party investors can participate in the Lloyd's market, but it doesn't mean that those users that have no third party capital should be in any way hampered by it.