Simon English: Insurers may go for geographical diversity

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The Independent Online

Outlook Ping. News from the Association of British Insurers. It has a new chairman, Tidjane Thiam, who shall continue to moonlight as chief executive of the Prudential, the UK's biggest insurance company.

Mr Thiam – a fine choice – says he is "honoured to be chosen". Other words from him: Changing world. Partnerships. Solutions. Sustainable growth. Absolutely marvellous.

But wait. Wasn't the Pru just threatening to decamp to Hong Kong, in anger at troublesome new regulations here?

Wasn't Mr Thiam personally briefing top government bods to this effect?

We know for sure that these weren't just the usual rather tedious games large financial organisations seem to love playing every time there's the slightest chance they won't get their own way. We know it because the Pru said so.

This was a serious threat. It should not be mocked. Mr Thiam doesn't idly speculate on such matters in an attempt to scare watchdogs into bowing to his every whim.

And since the regulations are still a-coming, we must assume the Pru and its undoubtedly able boss are still a-going.

I rang the ABI press office to check that they are OK with their new chairman popping back for meetings in-between Cantonese lessons. They're ringing me back.