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We have today announced the appointment of James Esdaile and Sian Aspinall as Joint Managing Directors of Berry Palmer & Lyle Limited. They succeed Robin Harper, who continues as a director of the BPL group after 20 years as Managing Director.


James joined BPL Global in 1997 as a graduate trainee, while Sian returned to the company in 2014 after working as a senior political risk underwriter for AIG and Zurich.

Tim Cullis also joins as Chief Financial Officer. Tim was previously CFO and CRO of Amlin Investment Management Limited.

BPL Global Chairman, Charles Berry, says: “We are indebted to Robin Harper for his role in BPL Global’s development since its early years, and for securing these latest steps in our succession plans. This signals continuity for our clients, employees and the market.”

James’ and Sian’s role will combine responsibility for service standards with business development and client relations.

Esdaile comments: “We remain committed to being an independent, employee-owned broker and, while steering the company’s future course is clearly a huge responsibility for Sian and me, we look forward to the challenge with great enthusiasm.”

Aspinall adds: “BPL Global’s approach has always been to place our clients’ needs at the heart of everything we do. We are determined to continue that approach, in the face of a changing business environment for specialty insurance classes like ours.”

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BPL Global has opened a representative office in Dubai. The opening takes the number of BPL Global offices to five.


The office, based in the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), is headed up by Harriet Smith. Smith joined BPL Global in February 2011 and in recent years has focused mainly on medium- and long-term business for European corporate and banking clients.

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Peter Gilbert has been confirmed as the new chief executive of BPL Global’s Singapore subsidiary, while Margaret Ho has been appointed chief executive of its Hong Kong branch.


Anthony Palmer will relocate to the UK and will remain responsible for BPL Global’s activities throughout the Asia Pacific region.

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BPL Global is delighted to announce the appointment of Sian Aspinall as Development and Technical Director. Sian, a leading political risk industry figure with over 20 years of experience, joins the board of directors to help define the strategic direction of the company and its line of specialist products.


Sian previously provided consultancy services to insurers, loss adjusters, brokers and law firms, following a successful underwriting career initially with AIG and subsequently as Senior Vice President, Trade Credit and Political Risk at Zurich. At Zurich, Aspinall was responsible for establishing the company in the London market. She started her career as a political risk broker in 1990 and was at BPL Global from 1992 to 1994.

Commenting on the hire, James Esdaile, Director, says: “For the past 30 years BPL Global has been synonymous with the development of the PRI market, and we believe that Sian’s appointment significantly strengthens us at board level and will ensure that we continue to lead the way in technical expertise, for which we are renowned.”

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BPL Global is delighted to announce the appointment of Margaret Ho as a Senior Broker to help the company’s continued expansion in Asia. Margaret joins BPL Global after 14 years with JLT in Hong Kong, where she most recently held the position of Divisional Director of the Credit, Political and Security Risks Division. She will report to Peter Gilbert, Chief Executive of the Hong Kong branch.


The appointment signals the next step in BPL Global’s Asian expansion and follows the opening of its Singapore subsidiary in July 2012, headed up by founding partner Anthony Palmer.

Palmer says: “We are delighted to welcome Margaret on board and her appointment significantly strengthens our team in Asia Pacific, underlining both the importance of the region to our global growth aspirations and our commitment to build upon last year’s success. Margaret is a highly-regarded insurance market professional, and we are confident that she will help us continue the successful development of our Hong Kong business both with local and international clients.”

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Speaking at Trade & Forfaiting Review’s annual insurance round-table event, Charles Berry, Chairman, BPL Global, discussed a host of issues concerning the political risk insurance market with peers from Marsh, Coface, Aon, Dentons and Beazley.


Commenting on the PRI market’s risk appetite, Berry said: “The market is happy to write business in countries like Vietnam and Mongolia, where it makes sense. The market is open. Elsewhere, we cover a lot of risks in difficult markets. The insurance industry, of which credit and political risk insurance is a small part, can take these risks; it is in robust shape and has been functioning perfectly normally throughout the financial crisis. Furthermore, it has been dealing routinely with losses arising from natural catastrophes measured in billions.”

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Future History…

In this article published in Trade & Forfaiting Review Charles Berry, Chairman of BPL Global, highlights that since 9/11 and the global financial crisis the political risk insurance (PRI) market has continued to support international business, expanding its capacity and paying its claims.   Moreover, its stability and growth over the last 30 years is driving new opportunities.


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BPL Global today announced the opening of its Singapore subsidiary, following on from the opening of its Hong Kong office in early 2011.


Co-founder heads second Asian office to herald further regional expansion

Anthony Palmer, one of the founding directors of the firm in 1983, is the new company’s chief executive, with Harry McIndoe as his deputy. Both have relocated from London to set up the new office.

“Our immediate focus will be local financial institutions including the banks, where we see the biggest gap in the market for our services,” says Anthony Palmer, “although we will also be working with the Singapore subsidiaries of our multinational clients. These include commodity traders and exporters – a specialist area for BPL Global and a good fit with Singapore’s position as the regional hub for trade and finance.”

Located in Raffles Place in the heart of Singapore’s central business district, BPL Global is committed to Singapore as its Asian head office alongside its Hong Kong branch, which is headed by Peter Gilbert.

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In the December/January issue of Trade & Forfating Review, Charles Berry, chairman of BPL Global, examines the resilience of the political risk insurance market.


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In this feature publication we explain why claims handling experience is vital in the PRI market, drawing on 28 years of loss data.


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