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Time to become a Lloyd's Name?

Dear Friend,

On Tuesday I went down the road to the Association of Lloyd’s Members (ALM) conference. It was fascinating gathering of remarkable people, who between them have centuries of experience providing capital to the world’s oldest specialist (re)insurance market.

Perhaps understandably the average age was high and the demographic and gender mix would have had an equal opportunities commissioner’s blood boiling, but once you get over the shock of the old world rigid formality of the gathering, you start to warm to the charm of these old gentlemen. That they still exist is a monument to the resilience of the human spirit.

Who else would give Scott Moser or Equitas a hearty round of applause? (It would have been a standing ovation if only members were thirty years younger!) “Are you a name?” asked the man next to me in a brisk Home Counties drill, clearly failing to spot the press badge prominently displayed on my lapel.

What a question to ask a young man — but it did set me thinking. If I had a million pounds spare (which of course I don’t) and I had a hearty appetite for risk, I could do a lot worse than take a punt on one of these new Limited Liability Partnerships.

After all, shares have underperformed for 5 years and look to be completing a rather feeble rally, bonds aren’t yielding anything and the property market looks like a massive accident waiting to happen. And this time names have got Rolf Tolle (also at the conference) looking out for their interests.

But I just don’t know – right now cash looks the most attractive asset class to be in —but if I ever made it to these venerable old gentlemen’s age with half their guts, I’d be happy indeed.

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