Lloyd's warned of risk in altering Morse plan

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The Independent Online
NEIL SHAW, chairman of the Association of Lloyd's Members, warned yesterday that Lloyd's of London has risked sending a 'terrible signal' to the troubled insurance market by tinkering with the reform plan drawn up by Sir Jeremy Morse.

Lloyd's ruling council has amended the Morse plan to include its chief executive and its head of regulation as members of the reformed council. It intends to enlarge the new market and regulatory boards to take account of the diversity of interests in the market, and it has given itself until January 1995 to complete the changes, a year longer than Sir Jeremy recommended.

Mr Shaw said the inclusion on the council of Lloyd's chief executive and head of regulation would eliminate the majority that the Morse plan gives to representatives of Lloyd's members who do not work in the market.

'I have very great concerns with anything that breaks with that fundamental requirement,' Mr Shaw said. Any delays in making the changes were also extremely worrying 'because it just shows an unwillingness to bite the bullet'.

'I find it very disconcerting if we are now getting into compromises,' Mr Shaw said. 'There are always going to be reasons why we have to alter the original recommendations, which were made without any pressure from the various vested interests.'

Mr Shaw said Lloyd's had sent a 'terrible signal' to Lloyd's members who are deciding whether or not to back the existing council. The ALM put forward a compromise resolution at the recent extraordinary general meeting that expressed confidence in the council on the understanding that it implemented the Morse plan.

Mr Shaw said Lloyd's back-tracking would probably prompt a lot more people to vote against the council.

Lloyd's also attracted fierce criticism for its plans to require the members of its ruling bodies to make a full disclosure of their business interests to investors.

The disclosure is to be required only from next January, thereby rejecting demands made at the extraordinary meeting that Lloyd's should produce the information it has on council members' interests for as far back as 1982.

Claud Gurney, the Lloyd's member who has led the sternest challenge to the council, said: 'It's absolutely disgraceful that they're failing to disclose their own personal interests. They're the people who screwed it up. We want to know their interests.'

Mr Gurney is particularly keen to learn the extent of the interests of David Coleridge, the chairman of Lloyd's for the past two difficult years.