Lloyd’s of London Chairman John Nelson has announced that he will retire in May 2017 – five months ahead of schedule.

Nelson made the announcement during his speech at Lloyd’s New York City Dinner last week, saying: “I am in my last year at Lloyd’s. As many of you know, I plan to retire at the Lloyd’s AGM of May next year – so I am not done yet!”

Nelson also summarised the Lloyd’s position on the ‘Brexit’ issue, saying: “Lloyd’s believes strongly that continued membership would be the best outcome and we will continue to make the case for staying in Europe in the run up to the referendum.

“There are three principle reasons for this. The first is the passporting rights that the EU provides for Lloyd’s in all 27 member states, allowing Europe, effectively, to be treated as a domestic market for Lloyd’s.

“The second is the bilateral trade agreements with third-party countries – and of great relevance at the moment, of course, are the negotiations going on between the EU and the United States over the TTIP agreement.

“The third reason is that roughly 90% of Lloyd’s capital comes from outside the UK. While I think Lloyd’s is the prime attraction for that capital, there is no question that Lloyd’s being in London, and London and the UK being a member of the EU, is an added attraction. If we left the EU, that attraction would obviously reduce.”

Nelson began in the role of chairman at Lloyd’s in October 2011, after an extensive career in banking. His Chairmanship at Lloyd’s had been set to end in October 2017. Lloyd’s has so far made no comment about Nelson’s potential successor.