After a devastating expose revealing a toxic culture in which sexual discrimination and harassment run rife in the Lloyd’s market, bosses have pledged to stamp it out.
The market’s public relations machine went into overdrive last week after a devastating article shone a light on a “near-persistent” and “deep-seated” culture of sexual harassment within some of the companies that operate in the more than three-century-old market.
The story from Bloomberg detailed incidents where women were drunkenly attacked or repeatedly demeaned by male colleagues.
The report sent shockwaves down Lime Street, where the historic market is located, and near which much of the drunken revelry and inappropriate behaviour - at the heart of the story - took place.
In response, the market issued a “robust plan of action to address reports of sexual harassment in the Lloyd’s market and create a safe and inclusive working environment”.
The statement, which was issued following an emergency meeting, said Lloyd’s would ban those found to have acted inappropriately from doing business in the market - potentially for life.
It promised to provide a market-wide and independently managed reporting system for making complaints, after accounts that human resources departments at some syndicates had dissuaded women from making formal accusations.
Lloyd’s also committed to undertaking an independent and market-wide culture survey to identify the scale and scope of the issue. In addition it said it would train staff to spot and intervene if they see sexual harassment.
Speaking to Bloomberg’s TV channel on Wednesday, Lloyd’s boss John Neal said: “This is not the lloyds that i want to be part of and not the Lloyd’s that many of my colleagues feel they want to be a part of either.”
“Whether these instances that [Bloomberg] reported happened ten days ago or ten years ago, I don’t care. It’s just simply not acceptable in this day and age that any woman should not feel safe.”
“Whatever I say, we are not doing enough,” he said discussing a new consultation to address the accusations of a pervasive culture of discrimination and sexual harassment.
“We will impose our own sanctions whatever any one of the constituent companies chooses to do within our marketplace. If anyone is found to have acted inappropriately then we will be incredibly decisive,” he said noting that could include lifetime bans.”
Speaking about the market’s response to the report, he said: “Everyone I’ve spoken to has been shattered by the article, so I have no doubt whatsoever that everyone wants to redouble their efforts to make sure that these events cannot occur.”