Anthony Hilton: Insurance expert Hiscox will be sorely missed

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The Independent Online

Having built one of the country's most successful insurance businesses over the last 40 years, Robert Hiscox will be sorely missed as he goes off into retirement – not least because he is one of the few leaders who is willing to say in public what he thinks in private.

But even by his standards the speech he delivered on Tuesday at the Insurance Times conference was a corker as he railed against the sheer incompetence and inadequacy of the Financial Services Authority's efforts to regulate the sector.

As ever, though, his purpose was serious. London's insurance industry is on a roll, with London reasserting itself as the leading global centre. Yet when regulation is transferred, as it soon will be, to the Bank of England, it will be supervised by a team whose senior people have no insurance background. If Britain is serious about supporting the industry with coherent and proportionate regulation, then at the very least, says Mr Hiscox, there should be a deputy governor appointed who has detailed knowledge of the business.

It is hard to disagree. It is a pity he is retiring – he would be the ideal choice himself.