This year's Biba conference will be vital to ensuring the future health of many brokers' businesses. But what do brokers really want?

Next week, insurers and brokers will be descending upon the seaside town of Bournemouth for one of the most important industry events.

This year's Biba conference will play a pivotal role in the future of many brokers' businesses.

With FSA regulation looming, brokers are looking for answers. They want a greater understanding of what the FSA is going to do. And they want reassurance.

They want the reassurance of talking to others in the same compliance boat. And they want to feel more confident that they will be able to comply.

ADS Insurance Brokers director Tony Scott sums up the mood of many small brokers at the moment. "I want to learn enough about compliance so I don't feel frightened into selling my business," he says. "I am looking for reassurance from Biba that we will be able to comply and not sell. Things are critical. I want hope."

The conference will also be crucial for networking. With the talk at the moment of an acquisition bonanza in the next 18 months, the conference will provide vital opportunities to forge relationships and find potential buyers and sellers.

Brokers have high expectations of the conference. Yet the fear amongst many is that the event will be `all talk and no action'.

"I think it will end up as a talking-shop on the issues. But will it achieve anything?" asks Gale and Phillipson corporate manager David Raw. He is not alone in this worry.

Mere chatter is unacceptable.

With so many brokers fearful of what the future holds for their businesses, the conference must deliver the answers that the delegates are clamouring for.

Over to you, Biba.