Chairman of Lloyd's
(1993 to 1997)
Nasco 25th Anniversary's Speech

Speech of Sir David Rowland (June 1994)
Lloyd's Chairman (1993 to 1997)

My education as an insurance broker started in 1972. I started work in 1956 but my real education began when my then company merged with another that had a large shareholding in Nasco and I met Maurice and Saba. And what did I learn? I learnt about the strength of partnership and relationship. When I asked my colleagues about Nasco, they said that the letters in Nasco stood for "Not A Serious COmpany". But in truth I found that it was not a serious company because we laughed very very often, but it was serious in the things that really mattered: serious in terms of trust between people, trust between Nasco and their clients. Above all I learnt to admire greatly the strength and resilience of that organization which was tested like so many others from 1975 onwards as a result of the troubles in Lebanon. I felt a very ordinary ill-educated Englishman watching the flexibility, the fast reaction, the ability to change, to shift locations, to develop new business and yet to keep the loyalty and continuity of relationship even through the most difficult period.

I learnt also that the most testing problems are solved best, in the best hotels of the world! Never was a Nasco meeting held other than in those surroundings. I came to the conclusion that this was indeed an ideal way to run a business.

My relationship lasted as a Partner until 1987. When my then company Stewart Wrightson was taken over by Willis Faber and Nasco negotiated the repurchase of its shares and was able to reconstitute its shareholding and to ask others to participate who had been supporters from the beginning of the company.

Now that I am not a partner I think often of Nasco. At one period of my life, every single morning Maurice rang me up at 8 o'clock. Now he rings me up sometimes and says: “David, why have you not spoken to me?”

Whenever we see each other I share that feeling of relationship and trust which I think spreads amongst all their clients and friends.

As some of my friends here know, I love playing golf. The greatest golfer who ever lived was a man called Bobby Jones. He was a United States citizen and he played golf during the 1920's and the beginning of the 1930's. He gave up competition golf because he had won quite literally every important tournament in one year on both sides of the Atlantic: He won the Amateur and the Open Championships of Britain and the United States and there were not world left to conquer.

In the 1950's he came back to St Andrews in Scotland, the scene of his greatest triumph. That city awarded him its highest honor, the Freedom of the City. He made a speech of thanks, and in it he said to the citizens of St Andrews that if he had to obliterate the whole of the rest of his life and only have left the experiences that he had at St Andrews, he would still have had a full, rich and satisfying life. Well, I think if I had to black-out all my business experiences and only have the experiences that I have had with Nasco, I too would have had a full, rich and satisfying business life.

Maurice, Saba, Serge, Cyril, Gino, Thérèse, Jackie, I salute you for excellence, for friendship, for amusement, for fun, for pleasure and for all the things that make life worth living. The next 25 years of Nasco, I know, will be in safe hands, with Maurice and Saba watching over it and the next generation coming through. Please go on giving us pleasure that you've given us in the past, I expect to enjoy it with you for tens of years ahead.

Good fortune to you all.