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For Whom the Bell Tolls: The Lessons of Lloyds of London

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Published in Great Britain by Sinclair-Stevenson in 1992. Good Condition with Dust Jacket. Pages slightly yellowed.    Jonathan Mantle.  

In this vivid expose, the British biographer of novelist/politician Jeffrey Archer and composer Andrew Lloyd Webber considers 20th-century developments that led to the 300-year-old insurance and blue-chip investment empire's current crisis. Long known for handsome returns to its members, many of whom were Americans, Lloyd's was traditionally run as an exclusive, secretive gentlemen's club: working through agents, syndicates of underwriters and brokers, it was protected from lawsuits by royal and parliamentary favor. The company's activities spanned the globe, and for many years it seemed "not only a Great British institution, but a uniquely easy way to make money." But by the 1960s, the author states, a "time-bomb" had started ticking, in the form of inflated membership, lack of self-regulation, unwise underwriting and fraudulent market practices that resulted by the late 1980s in losses in the billions that threatened Lloyd's very existence. Today, a leaner, more carefully regulated company looks to the future; in the author's view, "the old club had to die."