Derek Thornton, chairman of Biba, ushers in the 30th Biba conference.

I am delighted to be heading to Glasgow shortly for our 30th conference, Influencing Tomorrow. I have attended many Biba conferences, but this will be my first as chairman and I am particularly looking forward to it.

The conference will highlight a broking sector that is confident, dynamic and ready to shape the industry of tomorrow. Our industry needs one strong voice and brokers of all sizes have a role to play in contributing to its success. This role has been demonstrated by Biba priorities which have directly impacted brokers’ futures, including:

Campaigning vigorously to remind everyone about the brokers’ role in the provision of advice.

Constantly broadcasting brokers’ ability to design and tailor insurance products to meet clients’ needs.

Reminding the government of the importance of the brokers’ role in the provision of risk management advice.

Campaigning vigorously against any more FSA regulation of commission disclosure – conflict management and industry guidance will suffice in a principles-based regime.

Biba is achieving notable success on behalf of its members and we intend to keep the pressure up during 2008, particularly through the launch of a manifesto setting out our political agenda for this year. I would urge members to get involved wherever possible and to take the opportunity to show the government, our industry and most importantly, our clients, that we are in good shape to influence and face the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.

The conference has received great support from the industry including sponsors and exhibitiors, with many insurers taking more space in the exhibition hall than ever before and over 30 exhibitors completely new to a Biba conference. Along with the additional exhibition time added to the programme, this will result in excellent networking opportunites for all delegates and visitors.

I am delighted that this year will be the first that all staff of Biba member firms can attend free – whether you come for three days, one day or just one session.

I look forward to seeing you at the conference and please make sure you meet the whole Biba team – you’ll find us on stand D23.