Lloyd's of London strikes trade warning over EU exitComments Off on Lloyd's of London strikes trade warning over EU exit
Lloyd’s of London chairman John Nelson took Brexiteers to task today by saying it was “hugely optimistic” to assume the UK can renegotiate scores of trade deals if it leaves the bloc.
“If we weren’t operating under these agreements we would have to renegotiate bilaterally — I can tell you having spent my life doing things like that it is a hugely optimistic view. It would be very difficult to replicate what the EU is able to provide,” he said.
Nelson, who spent much of his career at Lazard advising companies, said “passporting” rights giving Lloyd’s access to 27 member states are an “important asset for the whole service sector” and backed the UK to stay in.
Brexit campaigners say Britain can thrive if it leaves Europe and point to Norway as a model for how trade agreements can be brokered by countries outside the trading bloc.
The 328-year-old City institution, headed by chief executive Inga Beale, reported a slump in performance for the year ending 2015 after investment returns fell short by £600,000 against 2014.
Profit fell to £2.1 billion from £3 billion in 2014 while investment returns dropped to £400,000 from £1 billion. The combined ratio, which tracks profitability, was 90% compared to 88.4%. A score below 100% is profitable.
“Overall we are in strong shape but we are facing severe conditions. They are as tough as they’ve been for ten to 15 years,” Nelson said. “The industry has got to really control its costs very tightly. Lloyd’s ourselves, we have to keep improving the platform to make it more attractive and modernise it.”
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