Picture the scene, AXA Insurance chief executive Peter Hubbard is holding forth in a room full of regional baron brokers - the company's national advisory group.

It's after lunch and the speech is in full swing. All of a sudden a broker starts in his seat. His braces have slipped from his waistband and pinged in his face, waking him from an afternoon doze.

Backchat understands that Hubbard did not take it as an affront to his oratory skills. After all the room was warm, the lunch good and the wine went down well.