Thank you, but . . .
Sir: I was encouraged to read the article by Christopher Fildes (City and Suburban, 28 March) in which he proposes to make a bid for us, resourced by the deep pockets of our Continental friends. He will then cut our costs, shorten our lunches, end our internal squabbling and fly our building to the site of the Crystal Palace, no doubt flushing our redundant agents down the stainless steel waste-pipes on the way.
If he is a buyer, I am certainly not a sell- er, because the causes for optimism he identified are genuine, as is his warning, 'The management must then show the will and the skill .
How shall we do this? First: Costs — how about a pay-freeze for those of us in the market, and perhaps also in the Corpora- tion of Lloyd's, who earn more than, say, £40,000 a year. Let us also bring a magnify- ing glass and a sharp pencil to bear on any managing agent where the employment costs charged to syndicates (other than motor) exceed 11/2 per cent of the allocated
Second: Professionalism — we must focus on the recruitment, training and retention of individuals of high intelligence. We need more mathematicians with a com- mercial flair who speak at least two lan- guages fluently. Lloyd's new French and German clubs have 350 and 100 members respectively, and membership implies a commitment to speak the language fluently or to learn it.
Third, we just have to endure the present spate of litigation and win most of our bat- tles, but compulsory arbitration for all internal disputes must be a desirable end.
Fourth, our growing confidence means that the insiders might perhaps deny them- selves access to the stop loss market until all external Names have satisfied any need for this new-fangled coverage.
Fifth, rates in many sectors really are on the rise.
Finally, some members of Lloyd's have sustained horrifying, possibly undeserved, but genuine losses. The great majority of our Names, however, remain strongly sol- vent, adventurous, loyal and optimistic. The pockets of some of our Continental friends are in fact slightly shallower than they were as a result of a recent diet of international brokers' business, and so thank you for your bid, Mr Fildes, but I am even pre- pared to hang on to our building at its pre- sent mooring.
C. K. Murray
R.J. Kiln & Co Ltd, 117 Fenchurch Street, London EC3