Finsbury limits Lloyd's capacity

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The Independent Online
FINSBURY Asset Management will this week announce that it has cut the size of the investment trust that it is launching to underwrite insurance at Lloyd's of London from pounds 35m to pounds 30m, writes Paul Durman.

Anthony Townsend, of Finsbury, said Wren Underwriting Agencies, the members' agent responsible for selecting syndicates for Finsbury Underwriting, had found it difficult to find sufficient good-quality capacity to justify a larger trust this year.

Some managing agents were unwilling to allow new limited liability vehicles such as Finsbury Underwriting to pick and choose from among their syndicates and were seeking a commitment to all.

The admission of corporate capital to Lloyd's still depends on the backing of existing members, or names, at a meeting next week. Lloyd's has suffered losses of pounds 5.5bn in recent years and is turning to corporate capital to bolster its underwriting capacity.

Finsbury Underwriting will have five underwriting subsidiaries and intends to take a line on about 50 different syndicates.

Wren has already reached provisional agreements for about two- thirds of the trust's expected underwriting capacity. It will act as a traditional members' agent to Finsbury Underwriting, which Mr Townsend said would give Wren a greater duty of care than if it were acting only as a Lloyd's adviser.

Finsbury will invest the trust's funds in a portfolio of large and medium-sized British companies.

Finsbury Underwriting is sponsored by Rea Brothers and UBS. Rea Brothers is a small merchant bank which, like Finsbury, is part of the web of companies built up by the late Sir Walter Salomon.