Lloyd's of London Chairman Levene Says Tighter Rules Risk Competitiveness

Lloyd’s of London Chairman Peter Levene criticized regulators’ “unhealthy fascination” with examining the consequences of the credit crisis, saying excess scrutiny risks hindering London’s competitiveness with China.

“In the past, the city of London would look at Frankfurt or Paris as possible competitors: now the principal pretenders are outside of the European Union in Hong Kong or Shanghai,” he said in remarks prepared for a speech at Plaisterers’ Hall in London today. “The Chinese authorities do not spend their time debating the finer points of how to draft living wills for their financial institutions.”

Levene, 68, spoke after Lloyd’s, the world’s oldest insurance market, posted a 50 percent drop in first-half profit this week on higher claims following the Chilean earthquake and the Deepwater Horizon oil-rig explosion. He also sought to distance insurers from the banking industry, the subject of unprecedented regulatory scrutiny since the credit crisis.

“Insurance is not banking,” he said. “Our risk management, our capital management is entirely different from the banks.”

“We find ourselves, two years on from the collapse of Lehman, still fighting a rearguard action, trying to convince regulators not to impose harsh conditions on us,” Levene said.

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