LONDON (Reuters) - Lloyd's of London hopes to stay in its City tower but will make a final decision later this year, the commercial insurance market said on Friday.
Lloyd's said earlier this year it was considering a move for its headquarters, as it attempts to increase its levels of automation.
The specialist market insures everything from ships to sculptures and has traditionally relied on face-to-face deals.
"Our preference is to stay in the building if the right terms are agreed," a spokesperson said by email, adding the market wanted to keep "a thriving physical space".
"We remain on course to confirm our plans later this year.”
The tower, designed by British architect Richard Rogers, took eight years to build and was completed in 1986.
The 14-story building's external lifts and service pipes have made it a landmark in the City, though in recent years it has been dwarfed by newer, taller skyscrapers.
"It’s the symbol of the market and the brand would suffer if they moved," said one Lloyd's market veteran.
Chinese insurer Ping An bought the building for 260 million pounds ($312.26 million) in 2013.
The lease expires in 2031 though there is a break clause in 2026.
Lloyd's was negotiating with Ping An and could stay beyond 2031, the Financial Times reported earlier on Friday, citing a person familiar with the matter.
($1 = 0.8326 pound)
(Reporting by Carolyn Cohn; editing by Jonathan Oatis)