Lloyd’s welcomed London Mayor Sadiq Khan to its annual City Dinner last night [5 September], where he made his first major address to the business community in the capital.

Click here to view the full speech from John Nelson

Click here to view the full speech from Sadiq Khan

Praising Lloyd’s as “a vital organ in sustaining our economic success” and “a British institution we should all be proud of”, he went on to set out his role as Mayor in terms of getting the best deal for London in the Brexit negotiations.

“I see my role as Mayor following the referendum as two-fold,” he said. “Firstly, standing up for London – making sure we get the deal we need with the EU to secure the future prosperity of our city.”

“The UK’s top priority has got to be securing a model of access to the single market that enables us to remain competitive globally.”

He said his second role was to work with the Government to put in place new initiatives to help boost jobs, growth and investment. Part of this will include a new digital talent pipeline initiative, led from City Hall, Khan said.
 
John Nelson, Chairman of Lloyd’s, speaking at his last City Dinner before he retires from Lloyd’s next year, warned that a failure to secure access to the European single market could impact on London’s ability to retain its position as the global hub of specialist insurance and reinsurance.

Nelson said that Lloyd’s and other members of the insurance industry in London would have no option but to conduct business “onshore in the EU” if access could not be guaranteed, but he stressed Lloyd’s would not be leaving the Square Mile.

 “If we are not able to access the single market, either through passporting rights or other means, the inevitable consequences for Lloyds - and indeed other insurance organisations - will be that we will transact the business onshore in the EU – and that obviously will impact on London’s competitive position,” Nelson said.

“Let me be quite clear though, Lloyd’s will always be centred in London.”

He said Lloyd’s continues to argue for single market access with the Government but work is ongoing around the alternative options available for accessing the European market. He also stressed the new environment would present new opportunities for London’s insurance sector.

“The Brexit negotiations will require joined-up government – and decisive government. I need hardly say that excessive delay and mixed messaging could render our position difficult in any negotiation.

“Brexit should, though, present us with opportunities. Ensuring that the UK financial sector remains competitive must be top of the Government’s post-Brexit plans. Access to the single market is part of that but not all of it.”

Nelson also said the City must learn from the Brexit vote which revealed faultiness in the country: “the south east versus the rest; older versus younger; and business, and particularly big business, versus society”.

He called on the City to show leadership. “By tempering its excesses, by growing its valuable contribution to the UK’s economy and by demonstrating to young people that the Square Mile is a place that their talent and potential is very much needed and valued, it can and must rebuild the trust that has slipped away over the last decade or more,” he said.