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SAN FRANCISCO-About 155 registrants attended the ninth annual National Insurance Symposium leadership conference earlier this month sponsored by San Francisco-based Russell Miller Inc., an insurance industry specialty investment bankers.

The theme of the conference was "The Competitive Market: Reaching Beyond the Boundaries." William A. Schreyer, a director of the Willis Corroon Group and chairman emeritus of Merrill Lynch & Co., delivered the opening address.

Mr. Schreyer said winners and losers in the financial services firms "will be sorted out by how they manage three fundamental transformations": shifting their corporate mind-set from selling to marketing; reorienting their dealing with clients from transactions to relationships, and changing technology from a cost center to a "genuine competitive advantage."

Other conference highlights included a dinner address by former Democratic Indiana Gov. Evan Bayh and a humorous luncheon presentation by Alan Dundes, a professor of anthropology and folklore at the University of California at Berkeley.

Next year's conference, which is by invitation only, has been set for March 8-10 in San Francisco. For more information, contact symposium director Darlene Nelson at 415-956-7474; fax: 415-398-0620.