Lloyd's is under pressure from top managing agents to resolve potentially damaging uncertainty between chairman Lord Levene and new chief executive Richard Ward over their respective roles, Insurance Times has learned.

It is understood that managing agents have become concerned at disagreements between Levene and Ward over the chief executive's duties. They believe Levene wants Ward to concentrate solely on process reform issues, whereas Ward is keen to expand his role wider.

The market fears that a power struggle could hamper the reform process that is underway.

Lloyd's strongly denied the allegations. A Lloyd's spokeswoman said: "This is total rubbish. Richard Ward has a broad range of objectives which have been agreed by both the chairman and the franchise board on which the market is well represented. Richard is simply getting on with delivering those objectives. There is no issue about roles."

A senior source at one of the top managing agents saw things differently. He said: "The battle is over who does what. If they [Ward and Levene] don't work it out quickly, too much energy will be spent on delineating who does what. The big managing agents have let Lloyd's know it has to do something; they do not want friction between Levene and Ward," said the source.

A source close to Lloyd's added: "Nick [Prettejohn] had the advantage of knowing the market before Lord Levene arrived and had built up his own relationships. Richard hasn't had the chance to develop his own contacts."

Managing agents want Lloyd's to prescribe more fully the roles of chairman and chief executive, placing them on a more traditional footing.

"Co-leadership where both men are used to running the show usually founders, and one casualty results," said the managing agent source.