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London Market referendum on leaving London

The groups representing the two sides of the referendum over whether the London Market should pull out of London have launched their respective campaigns. The date of the referendum has yet to be set but is believed to be linked to the implementation date for Solvency III. The question being asked at the referendum is: Should the London Market remain a member of London or leave London?

London to pull out of London?

The campaign to remain in London comprises 99.5% of the market itself. The group, called 'London is the place for me,' points out that being in London has many benefits for the London Market. A spokeswoman said: "We're in London, we've always been in London, that's why we're called the London Market. If we moved offshore, as the other lot are calling for us to do, we'd be Bermuda. But we're not."

According to the campaign's Twitter feed, #ohforgod'ssake/theclueisinthename, no-one in the London Market wants to leave London "apart from a few nutters and fruitcakes." One of those fruitcakes, Mocha Re's chief executive and chairman Sir Norbert "Nobby" Johnson, heads up one of the two groups calling for the market to exit London. He said it was time that the market handed over billions of pounds to London in the form of rates and rents, money that could be better spent on reducing underwriting losses and an increased level of lunches.

"My group, ?I'm A Reinsurer, Get Me Out Of Here" is the official campaign and you should pay attention to the other lot, although of course they are right as well," said Sir Nobby, referring to the rival group ?Last One Out, Turn Off The Lights'. "Off the record, they're an absolute shower, and couldn't organise a sidecar in an offshore financial centre," said the Nobster. "I mean, Dumbo's a good chap, but really, he's got no charisma at all. As I was saying to my City chums the other day over a glass of Chateau Lafite at Claridges, he's not a man of the people like me. I understand the average underwriter chappy. Salt of the earth. We used to employ loads at Mocha Re until we replaced them with E-trading platform."

Sir Dudley "Dumbo" Duddleston, Chief Executive, Hoggwartz Global Insurance, and head of the rival Lexit group, said that leaving London was the only option. "It's all very well waiting to see if the market can negotiate some extra powers from London, but the fact is we are saddled with Solvency II, and there will be no opt-out for the London Market. We have to be able to control our own capital levels and make decisions for ourselves in the Square Mile."

He added: "Yes it's true that 99.98% of our business is transacted in London, a well-known, established, leading financial centre, where all the leading banks, law firms, accountants, and all other financial services companies are based. Alright, and the Bank of England, yes, and the Government. But think of the many benefits if we were to move to say Solihull or Yeovil. No, I can't think of any either at the moment but I'm sure there's a couple."

Neither of the two Lexit groups have definitely decided where the London Market would relocate to in the event that they won the referendum. Sir Dudley said they were favouring either Wales or the Isle of Wight, although he acknowledged there could be many cost savings from relocating to Monte Carlo, while Sir Nob said he was particularly keen on the Seychelles, "although Tuscany would be fine at a push."

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