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Watchdogs seek 'demonstrable progress' from Lloyd's of London on harassment: BoE

A man walks past the Bank of England in the City of London

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain's financial regulators are looking for "demonstrable progress" in the way the Lloyd's of London commercial insurance market deals with harassment, a Bank of England official said on Wednesday.

Lloyd's has rushed to change its policies, including introducing life bans from its building, after Bloomberg News published a report earlier this year detailing daytime drinking and allegations of sexual harassment in the market, in which around 45,000 people work.

Insurers in Britain are regulated by the Bank of England's Prudential Regulation Authority and by the Financial Conduct Authority.

Lloyd's also acts as a regulator for the companies which operate under its roof, which include 99 underwriting syndicates and hundreds of brokers.

"We welcome the reaction of Lloyd’s leadership and are supportive of their initiatives," Anna Sweeney, director of insurance supervision at the BoE, said in a speech delivered in London.

These include a bullying and harassment hotline, a market-wide culture survey, the use of sanctions including potential lifetime bans, and new training and initiatives to increase diversity, she said.

"We and the FCA will be monitoring progress closely and talking to Lloyd's to see demonstrable progress," she added.

The media allegations, if proven, could impact the Bank's view of whether senior managers in the industry are fit and proper, Sweeney said.

Modernising the 330-year old Lloyd's market will be a challenge, Lloyd's Chairman Bruce Carnegie-Brown said in a speech in New York late on Tuesday, though he did not refer directly to harassment or diversity issues.


(Reporting by Carolyn Cohn; Editing by Jan Harvey)