Lloyd's managing agents blasted the franchise board for undermining their ability to trade in the corporation's capacity auctions.

One senior executive at a managing agent said the franchise board had failed to deliver on its promise to make decisions "in principle" on business plans ahead of the auctions, which began last week.

He said that the hands of some syndicates were "tied" going into the auctions as they had yet to receive conditional approval for their plans.

"Lloyd's was supposed to come back to us before the auction to tell us whether, in principle, this [the business plan] was going to fly or not," he said.

Lloyd's said: "Final Business Plans will be agreed with Franchisees prior to the final auction round."

The managing agent said: "This is causing people to be paralysed, as a key cornerstone of the auction is having an approved business plan."

He added that companies were unable to trade on a "reasonable basis" in the auctions without an indication as to whether its plan would be approved.

"Lloyd's said they would be coming back to managing agents with an agreement, in principle, before the auctions - [franchise performance director] Rolf Tolle was quite clear about this," he said.

The Lloyd's capacity auctions enable members to acquire or surrender capacity. Members agents said the lack of feedback from Lloyd's created difficulties when entering the auctions.

A spokesman for members agent SOC Group said: "It does create a problem for us because we're going into the auctions on an assumption rather than a known fact," he said.

He added that if a syndicate business plan were turned down following the auctions, members may be left with insufficient amounts of capacity if they had sold portions on the back of the proposed business plans.

But Lloyd's denied it had failed to provide feedback on syndicate business forecasts.

A Lloyd's spokeswoman said: "It was never the intention to sign off business plans before the first auction."

She added: "We are not aware of any issue over the timing of this year's business planning and auction process. We worked with the market to review and improve the business planning timetable this year and have provided detailed feedback on syndicate business forecasts in advance of the first auctions."

The corporation said the first auction, which took place last week, sold off a total of £236m of market capacity, involving 30 syndicates underwriting this year.