2012 AGM Report

Hon. Secretary’s Report


You should find the Accounts for last year relatively straightforward. You will see our Income exceeded our Expenditure by £3,100. There was essentially one driver for this – the £4,000 anticipated refund of the contribution made two years ago 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). You will note that last year’s Workshop/AGM practically broke even (a small deficit of just £83) and, due to Hogan Lovells making their Atlantic House facilities available at preferential terms for last Autumn’s Tutorial, a good surplus of £786 was made from that event. We are grateful to Hogan Lovells for this generous gesture.

This all left our accounts in good shape and, as at the end of the last financial year, the Society had £14,720 in its capital account. This was after making 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 reasonable shape albeit that we did see quite a large net reduction in Members over the year. As at today’s date, the Society’s Panel Membership stands at 83, excluding our 2 honorary members, Hugh Thompson and Dr Peter Frey. This represents a net decrease of 6 over last year there having been 3 new members appointed (Johan Lagerwall, Dr. Andreas Schwepke and John Trotter), one readmission (Steve Adams) and 9 lapses or resignations. We also sadly lost one long standing member, Paul Mant, who passed away last year.

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

The actual numbers (excluding our Honorary Members) currently stand as follows:

Underwriting 44
Law 18
Claims 10
Broking 8 Accountancy 3

Whilst the majority are of course domiciled in the UK, it is good to see a continuing overseas representation – at 24, overseas membership remains more than a quarter of the total. Our current membership comes from:

UK 59
USA 12
Germany 4
France 3
Switzerland 2
One each from Bermuda, Norway and a new member from Sweden

We are especially pleased to welcome those overseas members who are with us here today.

Of the overall Panel Membership, 79 currently feature on the Society’s website. Two years ago we gave Panel Members the opportunity to include their photographs in their website entries and, after a sluggish start, some 33 Members have since taken this up. Although this is 11 more than last year, it remains, at less than 50% of the total, a little disappointing. The opportunity is of course still there for those members who have so far not taken the plunge.

As regards website hit rates, these were once again well up on the previous year. Looking at the most recent figures, those for the first 4 months of the year, there were 2,621 visits over this period representing a 27.5% increase in traffic over the same period last year. Excluding the home page, panel members’ pages remain the most viewed pages by far with the Rules and Clause and Mediation Scheme holding their 2nd and 3rd positions. In all, visitors came from 97 countries with the UK, USA, Germany and France keeping their top four positions and Brazil in 5th place. Italy, Japan and China also saw large increases.

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 4½ 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.

Finally, as regards our Tutorials, after three years of slack demand, I’m pleased to say that, last year, we had sufficient interest to hold another one. This duly took place on 14th and 15th October and was attended by 14 of our members including 5 from abroad. Judging by subsequent feedback, it was very well received and we are indebted to Ian Hunter QC who led the event and of course his band of helpers and contributors, many of whom are with us today.

T.G. Fairs

Hon. Secretary and Panel Member, ARIAS (UK)

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