The fact that Lloyd's wants he FSA, rather than the franchise board, to deal with the GoshawK directors (Insurance Times 6 November) is telling. It reveals what many in the market have been thinking - that the franchise board is nothing more than a toothless dog with a very loud bark.

Rolf Tolle has been beating his chest and engaging in macho posturing before the market since his coronation as the franchise performance director earlier in the year. He revels in his tough talking persona.

But for some time I have been wondering whether, when the crunch comes, could the franchise board really act as an effective regulator of the business activities of the managing agents? Could it live up to the tough image that it has been presenting or would it just wimp out when faced with the more difficult jobs that it needs
to do?

Judging by the franchise board's desire to pass the serious business to the FSA, one has to say that it seems to have taken to cowering in the corner. It would seem that the 'Lloyd's boys' club' ethos has proved to be too strong a shackle on its ability to perform its duties.

Granted, the franshise board did demand a shake-up of GoshawK's management earlier in the year and successfully unseated chairman David Hooker. But when it has come to the really tough job, that of investigating the culpability of the directors and holding them to account, it doesn't have the guts.

It has revealed itself to be no more than a tough talking kid in the adult world of regulation.

The FSA is now is the driving and your correspondent's report that it is in a "bullish" mood. It's time for John Tiner to show the market that he has the teeth that the franchise board lacks.

Ben Davies