Investors swarm to Finsbury Lloyd's trust

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The Independent Online
THE OFFER of shares in Finsbury Underwriting Investment Trust, one of the new companies aiming to back the Lloyd's insurance market, was heavily oversubscribed by investors. The fund could have raised pounds 15m more than its pounds 30m target, writes Paul Durman.

Finsbury received three applications for every one of the pounds 7.5m of shares available in the intermediaries offer. The trust, sponsored by Rea Brothers and UBS, had already placed pounds 22.5m of shares.

The result came only three days after Lazard Brothers and Cazenove abandoned their attempt to raise a pounds 60m trust. SG Warburg has also had difficulty persuading investors to put up the pounds 150m it wanted for New London Capital, which is now expected to raise less than pounds 100m. Other Lloyd's companies have also had to scale back their fund-raising.

Finsbury initially planned to raise pounds 35m but had already trimmed its ambitions by the time it issued its investment memorandum a month ago. Wren Underwriting Agencies, the Lloyd's members' agent advising the trust on syndicate selection, felt that there was insufficient good-quality capacity to justify a larger fund.

Wren claims to have been the best-performing of the larger members' agents in recent years, with its average name escaping most of Lloyd's huge losses.

Steven Bannister, a Wren director, said: 'We have a track record which suggests that if Lloyd's is going to be making money, we are going to be there or thereabouts.'