Lloyd’s CEO claims island stole ILS business
Bermuda yesterday hit back after the chief executive officer of Lloyd’s of London said Bermuda “stole” the insurance-linked securities market from the city.
Ms Beale, speaking at an insurance industry conference in Germany earlier this week, said: “For whatever reason it happened, I feel that Bermuda stole the ILS market from London.”
And she staked a claim for a British share of the lucrative market.
Ms Beale said: “But we want to ensure London remains a great financial hub and this form of risk transfer represents a fantastic complement to everything that already happens in the London market.”
She added: “London is also a very concentrated pool of talent and skills and it is a great place for that to happen.
“This regulation will help us grow and improve the market without Bermuda eating our lunch.”
It is understood that top members of the financial sector on the island were stung by the remarks — but reluctant to hit out at a major trading partner.
Ms Beale’s remarks came despite an admission last year by then-UK Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne that Britain did not have the tax and regulatory regime to accommodate the multibillion dollar market.
Organisers of the ILS Bermuda Convergence conference, due to be held next month, yesterday released a statement in an apparent bid to redress the balance.
While the statement did not mention Ms Beale’s remarks, Greg Wojciechowski, chairman of ILS Bermuda and CEO of the Bermuda Stock Exchange, said: “Bermuda has earned the right to be referred to as the world’s risk capital and a centre for excellence for the creation, support and listing of US structures.
The statement added: “This position is the direct result of our resilience, innovativeness and ability to anticipate and respond to changes in our core markets as they occur and with our clients that we service in mind.”
And it said: “Bermuda was one of the first jurisdictions that embraced the creation, support and listing of ILS structures and is now the leading centre of excellence for this business with the greatest global market share of ILS.”
The BSX has registered nearly 160 securities over the last decade, with a market capitalisation of more than $19 billion.
The statement said: “Whatever claims are made, Bermuda, uniquely nestled between two of the largest capital markets and insurance centres of the world, has been a stable and innovative force for the industries it has served for decades.”
Member companies of the Association of Bermuda Insurers and Reinsurers have nearly 10,000 employees in Europe, with 6,000 in the UK alone.
Bermuda commercial insurers also provide almost a quarter of Lloyd’s capital and capacity.
The statement said: “There is no reason why this type of partnership cannot be further extended into the ILS space.”
It also pointed out that Bermuda has Solvency II equivalence with the European Union, ensuring a level playing field for island business, which will not be affected by the UK’s decision to pull out of the European Union.
Ross Webber, CEO of the Bermuda Business Development Agency, said: “In a global economy, Bermuda is affected, like other nations, by such major events.
“We stand ready to deal with myriad eventualities. No matter how the exit unfolds, we remind our business partners in the UK that Bermuda continues to offer the same stable, attractive, effective and proven blue-chip international business domicile as it has for the past 70-plus years.”
Mr Wojciechowski added: “The ILS sector and associated companies are using Bermuda for the same reasons such firms have always done — because of its extensive commercial offering, expert professional services community, stable currency due partly to parity with the US dollar and a flexible, yet globally-respected regulator that thoroughly understands ILS structures and the concept of innovation around them.”
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