The ACORD London forum has produced some controversial discussions

There were fiery exchanges at the ACORD London forum this week as panels discussed the evolution of data standards and technology in the London market.

Temperatures rose during a panel debate entitled “Bureaus, Exchanges and Hubs – The Future, Facts and Results” during which the panel discussed the ongoing role of electronic data communications.

Alex Letts, chief executive of RI3K, made an emotional appeal to stop updating data standards so often. “For us, to update the standards every six months means more time spent recalibrating our software and less time developing,” he said. “Lets please just stand still for a moment.”

Fellow technology provider and panellist Igor Best-Devereux, CEO of e-Reinsure, agreed with Letts. “Let’s accept that what we have is good enough and that there is no need to keep updating the standards so often.”

The comments provoked an angry response from the audience, summed up by Andy Brookes, head of the market reform programme office. He said that he did not agree that twice-yearly updates were too much and was disappointed that the technology providers did not see the value in development.

“I expect to see the market making significant steps forward in the next 12 months

Alex Letts, Chief Executive, RI3K

“I’m disappointed with the comments today,” he said. “It is clear to see the value in keeping the standards fresh and relevant. You cannot expect no change with progress.”

However the panel managed to agree with the audience on at least one issue. An interactive survey revealed that 83% of audience members agreed that bite-size chunks are the way forward for reform, rather than “big bang” solutions.

“I agree with the majority vote,” said Best-Devereux. “We need to learn to walk before we can run.”

“Three years ago I advocated the big bang solution,” added Letts. “However I now believe that if you had an all-in-one solution in this market you would actually get a big implosion. I expect to see the market making significant steps forward in the next 12 months.”