New initiatives announced at Lloyd’s “to create a more equitable market and society” follow independent research exploring Lloyd’s historical links to the transatlantic slave trade.

The chairman of Lloyd’s, Bruce Carnegie-Brown, has released a statement saying he is “deeply sorry” for the London re/insurance market’s historical links to the transatlantic slave trade.

Bruce Carnegie-Brown

Lloyd’s also published details of an “Inclusive Futures” programme of initiatives, which it says are designed to help black and ethnically diverse individuals participate and progress from the classroom to the boardroom.

The programme is a response to research conducted by Black Beyond Data, based at Johns Hopkins University, exploring Lloyd’s historical links to the transatlantic slave trade and setting them in context through an interactive, digital exhibit called Underwriting Souls.

“We’re deeply sorry for this period of our history and the enormous suffering caused to individuals and communities both then and today,” said Bruce Carnegie-Brown, chairman of Lloyd’s.

The Black Beyond Data research was independently funded by the Mellon Foundation and Lloyd’s held no editorial control over the findings, the London-based re/insurance market said.

The research makes clear that Lloyd’s, which is more than three hundred years old, played a significant role in enabling the transatlantic slave trade and economy, a statement from Lloyd’s said.

It added that the market’s activities, underwriting the slave trade, formed “part of a sophisticated network of financial interests and activities that made these activities possible”.

Carnegie-Brown added: “We’re resolved to take action by addressing the inequalities still seen and experienced by black and ethnically diverse individuals: which is why we’ve launched Inclusive Futures, a comprehensive programme of initiatives to help these individuals and communities progress from the classroom to the boardroom.”

Inclusive Futures includes a series of active interventions covering Lloyd’s recruitment, research, investments, charitable giving and more, spanning the next decade and beyond. The programme was shaped in consultation with black experts and ethnically diverse colleagues across the Lloyd’s market to deliver meaningful, sustainable change in building a more inclusive marketplace and society.

Mark Lomas, head of culture at Lloyd’s, said: “We know we can’t undo the past: but we can do something about the inequalities we see today. Our programme is a starting point, and the proof will be in its impact – but we believe these interventions will make lasting, sustainable change in how the Lloyd’s market looks and feels for generations to come.”

Alexandre White, assistant professor at Johns Hopkins University, said: “The Collection of Lloyd’s pertaining to the transatlantic slave trade is a critically important historical resource for understanding the histories of the slave trade and economy.

“Such records are scant and limited, and to our knowledge, some of these materials are likely the only of their kind. These materials also shed light on the ways that slavery and the slave trade shaped the City of London,” he continued.

“Through our collaboration with Lloyd’s we have ensured these materials are accessible and visible to all, alongside educational resources, in a way that is transparent, ethical and maintains both financial and editorial independence,” White added.