As a business, we always have been and always will be an advocate for face-to-face trading. Whilst we can appreciate that times are changing, technology is advancing and innovation is constantly revolving, there are of course opportunities for the industry to trade in ways that haven’t always been historic, making our processes simpler and more efficient. However, there are certain types of business that really need that face-to-face, relationship lead approach.

At Shepherd Compello, we feel strongly about our relationship with the market and our Underwriters – it’s important that we trust each other and building that rapport through a screen just doesn’t have the same affect. Our organisation is a supporter for hybrid working where there is a healthy balance, and of course there are certain tasks that require us to sit at our desk and do administration lead jobs, so one or two days away from the office can service us as individuals well. However, when it comes to trading, there is still that aspect of face-to-face trading that we need as a broker to be able to help the Underwriter fully understand the risk, explore different avenues, and room for collaboration, that you just don’t get via email.

There is no doubt, that we have seen a huge decline in face-to-face conversations and trading since the pandemic, and whilst they have picked up slightly, we all agree at SC that business hasn’t returned to pre-pandemic levels. As a broker, it is our duty to shop around for our clients, find them the best deals and explore all avenues – Lloyd’s Marketplace was created around this entire purpose, and we’re not utilising it as we should be anymore.

Laura Clothier, Assistant Underwriter
Laura Clothier, Assistant Underwriter

A few months back, some of our team participated in LIIBA’s research on our ‘Face-to-face Future’ and the results, which have recently been conducted into a report, are staggering. LIIBA invited 55 brokers to their workshop, where they carried out research into the future of face-to-face trading at Lloyd’s. Brokers expressed that Face-to-face, relationship-based trading was something all saw as integral to London continuing to be able to deliver client outcomes other centres cannot. And the Room can remain a significant competitive advantage if we can restore its status as a genuine trading floor. 97% of Brokers expressed that they would like at least 50% of their work-life to be in person with predominantly face-to-face interactions.

Laura, who attended the workshop said, “I’m so pleased that it wasn’t only myself, and Shepherd Compello that felt the importance of bringing back face-to-face trading. It’s obvious from the outcome that brokers need this to be able to deliver best results for their clients and the London Market needs this to be able to sustain competitive advantage over other insurance markets globally. It’s so important that Underwriters and Insurers take this on-board.”

We are so pleased with LIIBA tackling such a current and contentious topic head on, and continuing to be at the forefront of the issues that matter to Brokers. At Shepherd Compello we strongly believe broking is an art form, we can do nothing to change the facts we have available, but how we present, negotiate, and discuss them is crucial to get the best possible results for our clients and this best result cannot be achieved unless face-to-face. We are proud of Laura for her enthusiastic contribution to this study and hope this leads to the next steps as to how as an industry we can move forward to protect face to face trading for the long term.

Click here to read LIIBA’s full report.


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