Lloyd's of London's new EU base will not have a "significant impact" on the way the market operates with London remaining its major financial centre, chairman John Nelson said this morning.
In the wake of the UK triggering Article 50 yesterday, the iconic insurance market this morning revealed it will set up an EU base in Brussels, with new business set to be written from 1 January 2019.
The insurance giant's chief executive Inge Beale told the BBC it expects its Brussels employee footprint to be "in the 10s". She added 95 per cent of Lloyd's business will be written by London.
And speaking to City A.M. Nelson said: "I don’t think that setting an EU business for Lloyd’s will have a very significant impact on the Lloyd’s market overall. If you look at it, it’s a relatively small part of our business."
He also told Bloomberg:
I personally believe that London will remain the major financial centre for Europe... It’s certainly going to remain the major financial centre for Lloyd’s.
Lloyd's signposted a decision to set up an onshore EU base soon after the Brexit vote, building on contingency plans made prior to the 23 June. It whittled down a long list of countries down to Luxembourg and Belgium, with the likes of Ireland and Germany falling by the wayside.
Nelson said Lloyd's measured potential jurisdictions using 30 criteria, of which "five or six" were particularly key.
And it was Belgium's regulators that particular impressed the 329-year-old organisation.
“Lloyd’s is a unique organisation. We are a market not a company. So any regulator has got to get its head round that," he said.
“That was a key component. And also did they have the resource. And there Belgium also scored very highly."
An availability of experienced people and personnel was also key, alongside the country's associated with the EU. He said:
If someone like Lloyd’s going to go onshore EU, then it is very important that we are right at the heart of Europe.
If there is a place that is at the heart of Europe, it is Brussels.
"What we do hope is that by going onshore, it brings us closer to the EU customer base. It may help our business in Europe.
“We’ve come up with a structure, with the help of the Belgium regulators – who’ve displayed great imagination, flexibility and professionalism – where we may be able to attract more business that we don’t have today from third party carriers onto the Lloyd’s platform."