The D&O Diary is on assignment in Europe this week, with a first stop for meetings and events in London. In between, l had time for some touring around the city. I have visited London many times before, but just the same, I made a commitment to myself that I wouldn’t do anything that I have done before. As the pictures below show, I was largely successful.
The primary purpose for my visit was to participate in several industry events. The first event was a presentation to the D&O Committee at the International Underwriting Association of London. The meeting took place at Swiss Re’s building at 30 St. Mary Axe, better known as The Gherkin (pictured below). Quite a number of people turned out for the session, which was quite lively and interactive. I appreciated the opportunity to speak to the group. My thanks to Anna Chieng of Swiss Re for inviting me and to her and her colleagues for inviting me to attend and for organizing the meeting.
On Tuesday, I was a speaker at the annual C5 D&O Liability Conference. I was a panelist with my good friend Ann Longmore of Marsh at a session on the topic of the rise of collective investor actions outside the U.S. With the new European Commission initiative on collective consumer actions, we had quite a bit to talk about, and the many European attendees in the audience contributed some very interesting commentary as well. I always enjoy the opportunity to be on panels with Ann, she is such a pro.
While I was in London, I also participated in a panel at the offices of Beazley. I always enjoy these sessions, which has become an annual event. I enjoyed the chance to participate in a panel at the event with Jennifer Bolden of the Kennedys law firm, Adrian Jenner of Beazley, and Kieran Patel of Beazley. Tom Ielapi of Beazley moderated. After the panel session, we adjourned to an adjoining space for a reception. It was great to see so many London market professionals again at this event. My thanks to my friends at Beazley for once again organizing this panel and reception.
More Pictures of London
As part of my tour of previously unvisited sites, on Saturday morning I walked through Regent’s Park to ramble up Primrose Hill, on the northern end of the Park. At about 215 feet, the grass-covered hill is really just a modest rise, but it still affords great view to the South back toward the City.
In the area between the main section of Regent’s Park and Primrose Hill there is a canal, Regent’s Canal. The tow path along side the canal runs east toward Camden Town and beyond, and west toward Little Venice. I have in fact walked along other parts of the canal tow path on prior visits, but not the section I walked on this visit. On a sunny spring morning, it is about as pleasant a thing as there is to do in all of London.
In another first-time event for me, on Saturday evening I attended a concert at Wigmore Hall, a very small but elegant concert venue just north of Bond Street. I was fortunate that on the night of my visit, the venue was hosting the annual Wigmore Hall International String Quartet Competition. It was really a great concert. I am just glad I didn’t have to judge the competition, all of the performances were fantastic.
On Sunday morning, I attended the church service at St. Bartholomew the Great in West Smithfield, within The City of London. Parts of this venerable old church date back to the 16th century. The service itself was a high mass, with much pomp, processionals, and incense. The small professional choir was excellent. The church is located near the Barbican, northeast of St. Paul’s.
As part of my mission of visiting only new places, I went to a number of London’s many parks. First, I visited the Chelsea Physic Garden, along the Thames opposite Battersea Park. Then I visited Holland Park, west of Kensington Palace and just off of Kensington High Street.