When it comes to regulation, Lloyd's players often find themselves being tugged one way by the FSA and the other by Lloyd's.

There's little argument that the 46 managing agents, brokers, service companies and members' agents, who all trade under the global brand of Lloyd's, should be carefully monitored by the corporation. Neither is there any doubt that they should be governed by the FSA.

But with rules and regulation coming at the franchisees from seemingly every angle there is concern that the market is being weighed down by too much red tape.

Aside from the FSA's text book regulation, market players are governed by four Lloyd's Acts, starting with the 1871 Act through to the 1982 Act. There are also 56 bye-laws to be observed, as well as underwriting requirements demanded by the Franchise Board, which are contained in a 109-page document.

Lloyd's has carried out a comprehensive review of its bye-laws and requirements in order to consolidate, simplify and clarify the existing rules. To date it has revoked 38 of them.

But some of the top Lloyd's managing agents are worried that the burden of regulation could threaten the future of London's international insurance market, so much so that they have voiced those concerns to the Treasury.

As one senior underwriter points out: "We are getting to a point where we have to go through so many hoops to get things done that the market's in danger of losing that little entrepreneurial spark it has.

"The market should be regulated by one body and that is the FSA. There's an element of Lloyd's that is looking for things to regulate because a lot of what it used to do has now been taken away. It seems like a way of justifying its existence."

The market concedes that monitoring boards should be put in place to keep an eye on what types of business syndicates go into, but many believe that if the government of today wants the market to be regulated by the FSA then it is something Lloyd's should accept.

"The sooner that we get to a position where the FSA says to Lloyd's: 'don't worry, we will deal with this' - perhaps incorporating a Lloyd's unit into the FSA - then the better it will be," the underwriter said.

Not everyone agrees that the market is over-regulated, but they agree that clearly "sometimes there are still elements where Lloyd's, certainly in risk management activities, does overlap the FSA".

One market source said: "What the FSA does is straight forward textbook regulation, Lloyd's on the other hand concentrates on the durability of the Society of Lloyd's."

Lloyd's itself has acknowledged the issue of over-regulation, so much so that it has formed part of one of the five core areas of investigation in its three-year strategic plan.

A review was conducted by Lloyd's, in close conjunction with market, to find out the degree of dual compliance arising from the fact that those who do business in the market are regulated by the FSA and subject to oversight by Lloyd's.

Chief executive Richard Ward told the market, in the recently published six-month update on progress being made on the plan, that there was little evidence of "actual duplication" between the two regulating bodies.

He did, however, concede that it was Lloyd's duty to take steps to lighten the burden of operating at Lloyd's to make sure that dual compliance didn't leave franchisees at a competitive disadvantage.

Surely the realisation that, at times 'dual compliance' could be an issue, will in future bode well for members of Lloyd's. IT