Underwriting firm Atrium has been fined over £1m for non-financial misconduct, an amount that Lloyd’s said was the largest penalty ever imposed.
The fine, said Lloyd’s, totals £1.05m, plus the payment of costs to the market of £562,713.50. It was however discounted by 30% as the proceedings were apparently settled at the first opportunity.
Three charges were levelled at Atrium. The first was that Atrium failed to give notice of misconduct to Lloyd’s, the second involved bullying within the company by an unnamed employee towards a junior member of staff, and the third was that the firm had engaged in detrimental conduct related to ‘Boys’ Night Out’ events.
Those events, said Lloyd’s contained, “[…] 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.”
These events, said Lloyd’s, had been led, participated in, and condoned by two senior managers who had been in attendance.
John Neal, CEO of Lloyd’s, 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.”
Atrium put out a statement regarding the case, striking a note of contrition.
Christopher Stooke, independent non-executive chairman at the company, said that Atrium fully accepted ruling and that it had failed to live up to its values. ‘Serious errors’, he said, were made.
He added: “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.”
This story comes just over two years after Lloyd’s launched a campaign known as #SpeakUp that was designed to help people speak out against what it called ‘unacceptable behaviour’.
At the time, Neal said: “At Lloyd’s we expect all market participants to act with integrity, be respectful and always speak up. I hope this campaign encourages more people to do so. You will be heard, you will be supported, and we will act, because no matter what form it takes, harassment is never acceptable.”
He added: “The ambition here is to make a positive difference in many people’s lives, by empowering individuals to act and intervene when they witness unacceptable behaviour. I think everyone has a role to play. Lloyd’s leadership is fully committed to transforming the culture at Lloyd’s with shared values that will shape the behaviours, choices and actions of everyone in the marketplace.”
The survey followed reports of sexual harassment in the Lloyd’s market, and forms part of a plan to create a more inclusive and innovative culture, and to ensure the market can attract and retain more talent.