Ratings agencies will be asked to explain what went wrong at broking giant’s City event.

See analysis: Marsh taking the lead

Broking giant Marsh is to host a City summit for more than 200 of its key clients in an effort to prevent the impact of the global financial crisis from spreading across the sector.

The clients will be given an opportunity to question the leading rating agencies about their role in the meltdown.

Martin South, Marsh’s chief executive, has convened the summit, to be held next month at the Andaz hotel in the City of London, to tackle client concerns head on.

Marsh has gathered a line-up of speakers and has asked Richard Lambert, director-general of the CBI, to deliver a keynote address on the wider economic situation.

A senior Marsh source said there had been demand from clients for further communication since the crisis began. “We’ve worked hard to communicate to all our clients all over the world a clear picture of how we see the situation.

“The rationale is to help them to understand the solvency and liquidity issues of insurers and to hear wider perspectives to help inform their decision-making and fend off fears. This is not just a placement issue for our clients; we also want to hear from ratings agencies what went wrong.”

“The idea is to help them understand the solvency and liquidity issues.

Marsh source

The source added that clients wanted to know why ratings agencies had not spotted the problems and provided appropriate advice earlier.

“There is a responsibility issue here. It will be interesting to see how the rating agencies respond.”

It is understood the guests will also hear from representatives from major insurers, Airmic and the FSA.

The source said: “We have had to pull this together very quickly. It’s quite an unprecedented move in that we have been forced to respond to market conditions.

“The whole spectrum of risk management has changed and will continue to change. We need to be at the forefront of that to help our clients understand what is really happening.”

It is also understood that Airmic will provide feedback to the conference on a similar summit it conducted last week on AIG.

At that event, Lex Baugh, chief executive of AIG UK, moved to address clients’ concerns and to help explain that the insurer had adequate capital to pay claims.