Principals and Agents in Crisis: Reforms of Accounting and Audit at Lloyd's in 1982-6
The paper explores the monitoring by 'external Names' (the principals) of 'working Names' (their agents) in the Lloyd's insurance market of the 1970s and early 1980s. The market was relying heavily on external Names to finance its rapid growth; and these principals were dependent upon their agents to determine the extent and nature of the risks they were underwriting, and their share of the returns. Contrary to expectations based on agency theory, the paper finds little evidence that more formal and rigorous accounting and audit accompanied the sharp rise in external investment in the market. Such changes in monitoring were only installed as a result of intervention by government and the City, after revelations that insider agents had exploited their informational advantage to plunder their principals' assets. The paper discusses institutional characteristics of the Lloyd's market that might help explain its failure to adapt until there was external regulatory pressure.
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