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Lord Marsh was a keen advocate for UK financial services

Lord Marsh, who has died at the age of 83, was an early supporter of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Insurance & Financial Services and a keen advocate for financial services in the UK.

He added gravitas and a certain amount of kudos to the group as people were impressed that a former Cabinet minister wanted to play an active part in the group's affairs. At the time, of course, the subject matter of the group coincided neatly with some of his directorships, not least as chairman of Laurentian Financial Management. There were several occasions when his advice to trade associations and firms looking to bend the ear of government on some policy point streered them in a more sensible and productive direction as he brought his direct knowledge of how Whitehall worked to bear.

Unlike some who have held high office - even once being hotly tipped as a future Labour Prime Minister - Richard Marsh was never aloof, stuffy or unapproachable, something that comes through in the obituaries of him that have already appeared. Indeed, his lack of undue respect for high office seems to have been behind his falling out with the Labour Prime Minister Harold Wilson in 1969.

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