Change brings transparency and better corporate governance, but the Names are still there, says Elliot Lane
So Lloyd's is about to go through its own Reformation. Sax Riley has nailed his Lutheran-like treatise, the Chairman's Strategy Group proposals, to the door of Lime Street's Balls Brothers. Will the members follow?
Over the coming weeks those opposed to change can air their views and if there are dissenters, Lloyd's may issue a letter to members in August. But there should be no complaints before the EGM on 12 September. His plans to modernise and bring transparency to the market through creating a franchise market is plain common sense.
It seems that Riley's plans to tackle the Lloyd's Act of 1982 is an attempt to dilute the powers of the Medici-style Council of Lloyd's.
A concerted shift towards developing proper corporate governance, which adheres to the Combined Code, is needed. Not just to please the regulator, but to attract international business.
One senior Lloyd's figure said the new franchise board would be structured in a similar way to the Equitas board, with executive and non-executive directors.
The board would consist of three members from the market, four independent members and the committee overseen by the Lloyd's chairman and the new franchise performance director.
And this new director will have teeth.
Nick Prettejohn said he has three or four people in mind from outside the market to take the job. The consensus is that the person will not be David Gittings's (Lloyd's ex-regulatory board director, now at the Financial Services Authority) lap-dog, but will have real powers to expel shoddy or disreputable businesses.
The other interesting opinion is there is no appetite to rid the market of Names for good. Unlimited liability Names are definitely no longer de rigueur, but limited Names would still be welcome.
Taciturn as Riley may be (he still believes `marmalade' is still too long a word), in this case, actions speak louder than words.