2010 AGM Report

Hon. Secretary’s Report


You should find the Accounts for last year relatively straightforward – although this year our Expenditure exceeded Income, this was due to two one-off expenses and, overall, our balance sheet remains strong.

The largest item of expenditure was a donation for £4,000 made to Lord Mance’s ad hoc committee formed to consider arbitration appeals to the High Court. This money is currently being held by Maritime London on behalf of Lord Mance. We also incurred the sum of £2,000 for a long overdue up-grade to our website – more about this later. However, it is pleasing to record that, offsetting these amounts, was the refund of a provision for £2,000 made in last year’s books for the cost of running our last Tutorial at Lovells’ offices. Having received confirmation from Lovells that they had written this sum off, we were this year able to release this provision from our accounts. We are grateful to Hogan Lovells for this generous gesture.

You will also note that last year’s Workshop/AGM produced a surplus of £800 and we are indebted to Sir Alan Traill for once more arranging these excellent facilities at Cutlers Hall. Together with members’ subscriptions our capital account as at the end of the last financial year was in good shape with just over £14,000 in the bank. This is after provision for what is effectively a pre-payment of next year’s subscriptions for those members who took advantage of the discounted 2 years rate.

Membership Report

I am pleased to report that the Membership of our Panel is also in good shape. Over the last year, there was a modest turnover of Members and, as at today’s date, the Society’s Panel Membership stands at 101. This represents a net reduction of 3 over last year there having been 7 new members appointed (two of whom, Peter Butler and Pierre Charles, I am pleased to say are with us today), one reinstatement and 11 lapses or resignations.

Once more, by far the largest discipline represented within our membership is underwriting (both marine and non-marine) but we are also have members with backgrounds in law, broking, claims and accountancy.

The actual numbers currently stand as follows:

Underwriting 62
Law 15
Broking 10
Claims 11
Accountancy 3

Whilst the majority are of course domiciled in the UK, it is good to see a continuing overseas representation – at 25, overseas membership remains a quarter of the total, a reduction of just one over last year. Our current membership comes from:

UK 76
USA 13
Germany 4
France 3
Switzerland 2

and one each from Bermuda, Norway and Sweden. We are especially pleased to welcome those overseas members who are with us here today.

Of the overall Panel Membership, 87 currently feature on the Society’s website.

I reported last year our intended overhaul of our website and I’m pleased to say this work has now been completed. Our old website was looking tired and I hope you’ll agree that the new version is a big improvement. This was made active earlier in the year and, now it has bedded down (we had a few glitches along the way), we shall shortly be writing to Panel Members to give them the opportunity to include their photographs, if required. One of the benefits of the new site is that search engines will apparently be able to find people’s names much more easily. As always, we welcome suggestions as to any particular enhancements members would like to see to the website.

There are no plans for the moment to reissue our Directory of Panel Members. The last edition, the 3rd one, was published some 2½ years ago and, despite its success as a reference book and marketing tool, its biggest drawback of course is that, once published, it cannot be up-dated. This is in contrast to the website which is being continuously up-dated with new members and changes to existing Members’ details.

As previously mentioned, the publication of our Directories and more recently the availability of Panel Members’ details on our website have enabled parties looking to appoint arbitrators to make their own selections rather than seeking guidance from the Society. As a result, enquiries over the last year have largely been of a general nature or from parties seeking to make default appointments or from non-ARIAS members.

Finally, as regards our Tutorials, the last was held in October 2008 and, although keeping the position under continuous review, we have no plans to hold another for the time being – relatively few new members have joined the Society since the last one and, although of course also open to established members seeking to refresh their knowledge, we believe it would currently be difficult to generate sufficient support. As I say, we continue to monitor the position and if any Members here today would like to register their interest, they are welcome to do so by contacting David Holmes – depending on demand, we may be looking at next Spring as the possible date for our next one.

T.G. Fairs
Hon. Secretary and Panel Member, ARIAS (UK)

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