Is Willis on the lookout for an injection of new blood high up in its London operation? Backchat's favourite rumour of the week was that Tony Medniuk, chief executive of the world's biggest aviation insurer Global Aerospace, could be on his way to a plum job at the broker.

The tale was vehemently denied, but several wags in the market asked whether it might not reflect a feeling of constraint at the aviation operation, whose backing is dominated by Berkshire Hathaway and Munich Re.