A DISGRUNTLED City executive has unlocked one of the Square Mile’s most closely guarded secrets: the identities of the select millionaires who make up the Lloyd’s names.
The informer has broken a three centuries old rule of silence by revealing the index of Lloyd’s of London names to The Sunday Times.
The leaked internal documents — for the years 2000 and 2003 — identify hundreds of wealthy “gamblers”, plenty of whom have lost fortunes and could face ruin after staking their wealth on the Lloyd’s insurance market.
Many are planning to quit after suffering huge losses in a series of world financial crises caused by the dotcom meltdown, corporate scandals and the September 11 attacks.
The scale of the problem is much greater than had been previously thought, possibly on a par with the Lloyd’s crisis in the late 1980s when hundreds of names lost their homes and savings. It may indeed signal the death knell for the names, as Lloyd’s increasingly comes under pressure to rely on corporations rather than individuals.
The figure who leaked the list is a former millionaire who expects to become bankrupt. He has risked his reputation with Lloyd’s to disclose the list because he wants to kick-start a campaign to highlight the plight of hundreds like him who, he says, were misled by Lloyd’s and syndicate agents.
The index gives a unique insight into one of the world’s most exclusive clubs. It covers syndicates — responsible for £27 billion of assets — invested in by more than 5,500 current and past names.
Those identified range from the Duke of St Albans to Lord Strathclyde, the shadow leader of the Lords, and the Queen Mother’s nephew to Trevor Brooking, the former England footballer, and Dennis Amiss, the ex-England cricketer.
Other names include judges, senior lawyers, former ministers and top military, business and academic figures.
Experts say the index for 2000 is the most revealing. Because of a three-year time lag losses for that year and 2001 will be starting to hit now. Losses for 2001 alone account for £3.1 billion. A comparison between the 2003 and 2000 lists shows a drop from more than 5,500 to 3,500 names.
The disclosure will be an embarrassment to Lord Levene, chairman of Lloyd’s, and the heads of the more than 70 syndicates. They rely on the goodwill of names to keep the market going and when investors are invited to join they are assured their identities, and investments, will stay secret.