Lloyd’s issues £1m fine to Atrium over bullying case

Lloyd’s of London has fined syndicate member Atrium Underwriting a record £1m for bullying and misconduct, the largest fine it has given for misconduct.

It issued a notice of censure in response to misconduct that took place at Atrium, a managing agent in the Lloyd’s market. The public censure details three charges, to which Atrium has admitted. It also says that the £1m fine – the largest ever imposed by the Lloyd’s Enforcement Board – reflects both how unacceptable these circumstances were, and the seriousness with which Lloyd's is treating this issue.

John Neal, Lloyd’s CEO, said: “We are deeply disappointed by the behaviour highlighted by this case, and I want to be clear that discrimination, harassment and bullying have no place at Lloyd’s. The robust action we have taken today, including the largest fine ever imposed by the Lloyd’s Enforcement Board, shows that we will not tolerate poor conduct in our market. Lloyd’s expects all participants in the market to meet the highest standards of professionalism, and we are continuing to use our powers to intervene when needed.

“Everyone in the Lloyd’s market and Corporation should expect to work in a culture where they feel safe, valued, and respected and if they see unacceptable behaviours, to speak up with confidence, in the knowledge that action will be taken.”

The censure notice details how Atrium over a number of years until 2018 allowed a ‘Boys’ Night Out’ during which staff, including two senior executives, “engaged in unprofessional and inappropriate conduct, including initiation games, heavy drinking and making inappropriate and sexualised comments about female colleagues, which were both discriminatory and harassing to female members of staff”. It also revealed systematic bullying of a junior member of staff over several years.

Christopher Stooke, independent non-executive chairman at Atrium, said: “We fully accept the rulings made by Lloyd’s of London. With deep regret, it is clear that Atrium failed to live up to its values and serious errors were made when handling these matters. We are sorry for the hurt that this caused and how difficult this been for those affected. The behaviour outlined in the notice of censure has no place in our business or our industry, and we recognise that we must go further to ensure that this situation is never allowed to happen again.”

Stooke said that the firm has moved to address and learn from past failings and update its policies and procedures to ensure the highest standards. It has also been working for a number of years with colleagues from across the business to strengthen its culture towards a more values-driven and inclusive environment.

“We have worked closely with Lloyd’s throughout this process and appointed an independent third-party to review the allegations and make recommendations on actions to the Atrium Board, which are now being implemented. We will continue to engage with Lloyd’s and other stakeholders to ensure that our workplace is somewhere that all of our colleagues feel supported and feel that they can safely raise issues in the workplace knowing that they will be dealt with appropriately.”

In addition to the fine of £1.05m, Atrium has also been ordered to pay costs of £563,000.

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