Split in top jobs demanded

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The Association of British Insurers, whose members control 1,000bn (€1,662bn) of assets - including approximately one-quarter of the UK stock market - has written to senior non-executive directors at more than 20 companies in the FTSE 350 that appear to have one person as chairman and chief executive.

David Rough, group investment director of Legal & General and chairman of the ABI's influential investment committee, says in the letters that combining the two most senior company jobs is a matter of concern for investors.

He demands to know why the companies have not separated the two roles and when they will be reassessing the situation. Mr Rough has also made it clear that the ABI backed the conclusions of two reports, by committees led by Sir Adrian Cadbury and Sir Ronald Hampel. Both corporate governance reports stated that best practice was for the two jobs to be kept separate.