Re the article Relaxed Lloyd's ready for the crunch (July 2003, Top Fifty Brokers, ), have Lloyd's brokers been "let off the hook" or merely been given a stay of execution?
Can there be so many brokers out there, who, constrained by their IT system, can't meet conditions such as the "indicative" five-day deadlines? Surely, reputable IT suppliers will build into their product features which comply with current industry FSA standards - not because they are mandatory, but because most of the regulations reflect desirable financial controls and efficient document flow for all brokers, Lloyd's or otherwise?
Dickson of Dickson Manchester makes a crucial point: "If any Lloyd's broker isn't segregating client monies, they should be shot." An IT system worth its salt must be able to not only segregate Lloyd's monies, but also monies due to a whole host of third parties. A broker should be able to see precisely where he stands in his relationship with all trading partners. Directors want up-to-the-minute data on the financial health of their company and need an easy-to-use, comprehensive IT system with an overview of all financial transactions. This 'one-stop-shop' must give each user an easy-to-use front end, whether they are diarising a five-day reminder for claim payments, displaying fully exploded information on fees, or producing policy documentation for potential clients before they buy.
Brian Meigh's letter (31 July, Insurance Times) warns us that the latest sexy software solutions may not be the answer. He's right! Wise investment in an IT product looks at its longevity as well as cost efficiency. Now is the time to invest on a basis of meeting all likely future regulatory requirements. Only a highly irresponsible IT supplier will bring an offering to the market now which does not take on board likely future FSA conditions.
"Ah, the cost," I hear you cry. But it is possible without breaking the bank. There are IT systems, such as ours, priced very favourably for the small and medium-sized broker, which meet and even surpass these feared regulations.