On raising capital, Nigel Barton, chief executive of London market insurance intermediary Oxygen, was keen for brokers to seek specialist advice.

He said: "With resources, my suggestion would be that we don't try to reinvent the wheel - use specialist advice.

"Even if in those very early days you're having to dig into your own pocket, spend the money to lean on other people's experience.

"Be practical, take the capital when it's available, even if it's more than you had planned. Be prepared to adapt.

"Oxygen is no different from any other insurance intermediary business in London. We're an insurance intermediary, nothing very exciting, we offer equity to rainmakers, plenty of other businesses do that.

"We try to break out a clear differentiation between our broking activities and our agency activities. But all of this is to give a clean sort of transparent platform.

"Barriers to entry are now high for start-ups, I'm afraid. The closest analogy I can think of in London is Benfield investing in developing the primary insurance area.

"It explained to its stockholders how much time and money that it was going to take to develop that side of the business. So barriers to entry are high."