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Bank of England steps up monitoring of Lloyd’s whistleblowing systems

LONDON (Reuters) – The Bank of England has stepped up its monitoring of Lloyd’s of London’s <SOLYD.UL> whistleblowing systems, the central bank said on Monday, after reports this year about sexual harassment and bullying at the 330-year old insurance market.

The Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) said the insurance market had agreed to extra checks after informing the regulator its processes had been ineffective.

The PRA said it was first made aware of issues at Lloyd’s in February when the market told the regulator its only anonymous whistleblowing channel for staff had not been operational since October 2017.

Other whistleblowing channels were available while the anonymous hotline was down, the PRA said.

Lloyd’s also failed to provide an annual whistleblowing report as expected, the regulator added.

Lloyd’s has voluntarily agreed to additional requirements, including enhanced reporting of whistleblowing cases and training requirements for senior staff, the PRA said.

Following press reports of widespread misconduct at Lloyd’s, the market published results of a survey in September that found nearly one in 12 employees working in the market had witnessed sexual harassment there in the past year, while a quarter had witnessed excessive drinking.

Lloyd’s has tried to improve standards of behaviour in the market this year, including introducing life bans from its building and a bullying and harassment hotline.

The Lloyd’s market employs nearly 50,000 people and has 99 syndicate members offering insurance in specialist areas from ships to sculptures.

“We are extremely disappointed by this failure in our internal controls, which serves to remind us all about the need for constant vigilance when it comes to these essential services,” a Lloyd’s spokesman said.

“Lloyd’s employees can feel confident that we now have all the right mechanisms in place for them to report any wrongdoing, and that these systems are regularly monitored.”

(Reporting by Iain Withers; Editing by Louise Heavens and Edmund Blair)

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