Rumours have been circulating Lime Street that the search for a new Lloyd's chief executive is down to a short list of eight, with an announcement due in the New Year.

It would appear, however, that this speculation is fuelled more by festive good cheer than fact.

Neither Russell Reynolds - one of the headhunting firms retained to find a replacement for Nick Prettejohn - nor Lloyd's itself would comment.

But Backchat's sources said the rumours were inaccurate.

Backchat understands that Russell Reynolds and Spencer Stuart, the other headhunting firm hired by Lloyd's, are not under pressure to find a new chief executive quickly.

Given that the search began only in November, an imminent announcement would seem unlikely.