Sunday, March 21, 2010

London brokers take a dim view

There is reason to be suspicious whenever London marine professionals express their opinion of markets and vendors outside the Square Mile, but I was struck by Tysers' very personal opinion of The American Club's 2009 Annual Report.
CEO Joe Hughes would make a very successful politician – an entertaining and educated speaker able to talk forever without actually answering any of the questions. Except for the entertaining bit, the Annual Report mirrors Joe’s personal
qualities. In the Report’s “highlights”, we are advised there was a small decline in tonnage but nowhere is the current tonnage figure mentioned (it is down to just over 13m GT, making them the smallest Club in the Group); we are also told that Standard and Poors has reaffirmed the Club’s financial strength – “stable outlook maintained” but no mention is made that the rating is only BB-. Elsewhere in the Report, we are told the Club’s “underwriting results continue to be at the
leading edge of market performance” Very Blairite and the failure to mention this is after unbudgeted calls in eight of the last nine years can only be an oversight. Finally, there is an intriguing note on the last page of the Accounts informing that on 17th December 2008 (the Club works to a calendar year end) the Club borrowed $10 million from Deutsche Bank on a line of credit. Perhaps the members would be interested to know the need for this line?