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Lloyd's of London reviews operations after losing £2b and CEO

[LONDON] Lloyd's of London is reviewing all aspects of its business, including its centuries-old structure, to ensure it is cost-competitive and responsive to both clients and members, especially after Britain leaves the EU, industry sources said.

The review, coming after a £2-billion (S$3.58-billion) loss last year and the news in June that CEO Inga Beale will step down, goes to the core of the institution's hybrid personality, senior insurers and other officials in London's financial services sector said.

Lloyd's has been holding board and other internal meetings and separate discussions with broader market participants on the best way forward, the officials said. Precise details of the review have not been disclosed, they said.

"A strategic review is being worked on," said one financial services source, asking not to be named because he was not authorised to discuss it. Another source, a senior executive at a firm that supplies services to Lloyd's members, said he understood that included looking at its unique structure.

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"The most fundamental question is, what does Lloyd's actually want to be?" the executive said.

At present, Lloyd's is both a marketplace for its 80-plus syndicated members and an umbrella body that sometimes acts like an insurer by getting deeply involved in members' day-to-day practices. It also regulates the members under the auspices of the UK government.

Asked whether Lloyd's was conducting a strategic review, Chairman Bruce Carnegie-Brown told Reuters on Monday he would not use that term.

"To me a strategic review implies some kind of crisis, where you've got to put everything into a big hat and end up boiling the ocean. We are not interested in that. What I think we have is a series of improvements and ideas," he said in a telephone interview.

He said Lloyd's was looking at all aspects of the business, however - cost structure, technology, its role as a marketplace and a regulator, and how it mutualises risk. He said recommendations from an "annual strategy day" in June were presented to the board last week and a number of "workstreams" were being set up.

"I think what we need to do is to look at all aspects of what we do, to try to make sure everything we are doing is done better and turn it into more of an exercise to keep turning the stones over of the things that we do to figure out if we can make things more efficient," he said.

Mr Carnegie-Brown said he did not see Lloyd's relinquishing its regulatory duties but said there were "whole aspects of regulation that we need to look at to make sure that we are not duplicating what is already done by other regulators".

REUTERS