Barlow Lyde & Gilbert has won two new clients and is advising on five separate offers to buy out Lloyd's syndicates. The firm has won its first instructions from both Limit and Safeco and is also acting for Brit on the acquisition of an aggregate capacity of £219m on Lloyd's syndicates 79, 556, and 1,036 for Limit, 2,987 for Brit and 138 for Safeco. The offers are five of the total nine offers for aggregate capacity being made in the Lloyd's auctions this year. Last year, Barlow Lyde acted on six of the 12 offers made, with a team led by corporate partner Stephen Browning. Browning joined from rival Clyde & Co at the begining of last year and brought his specialism in capacity offers with him. The capital supporting Lloyd's syndicates is increasingly being supplied by corporates rather than individuals, and a growing number of syndicates are being supported by companies aligned with the managing agents who run them.
"In order to do it efficiently, you need to have experience, as with everything else" Stephen Browning, Barlow Lyde & Gilbert
Capacity offers arise mainly where a single member, or the associated members of a syndicate who provide more than 75 per cent of its capital, are required by Lloyd's rules to offer to buy out the minority members. If accepted in full, the total consideration payable in respect of all five offers that Barlow Lyde is advising on will equal approximately £11m. Browning said: "I've done about 50 per cent of these deals for the past three years. It's a question of doing the document itself and making sure it's all properly verified, but also knowing what all the rules are in detail. You need to know the rules in order to understand what the issues can be. All the processes that go with it mean that in order to do it efficiently, you need to have experience, as with everything else." Browning scooped Limit and Safeco after making informal pitches for the work. He said that he knows some of the people at Limit from their work at other businesses, but this is the first corporate insurance transaction that Barlow Lyde has done for them. Safeco is a completely new client that the firm picked up through reputation, while Brit is a longstanding client of Browning. He said: "I did a capacity offer last year for Brit and I was involved in the merger of five of its syndicates into four. This is a follow on to that." Other firms active in the Lloyd's capacity restructuring arena include Dechert, Lovells and Manches. The Barlow Lyde team also include tax partner Abigail Day and corporate assistant Antony Single. The firm's corporate insurance team has also just acted for travel insurer Travel Protection Group on its acquisition of Hamilton Barr Group and seven affiliated companies for an undisclosed sum. This deal was led by partner John Cadman.