Godfried De Vidts President ACI
Godfried De Vidts President ACI

Recent Event – The 44th ACI World Congress

Godfried De Vidts reviews some of the highlights from the recent ACI Congress in Stockholm

At the end of May 2005, the 44th World Congress hosted by ACI Sweden was the occasion to celebrate 50 years of ACI, The Financial Markets Association. The event attended by some 700 delegates and exhibitors at the Convention centre was witness of the robustness and commitment from our members to the financial markets and their profession.

Initial meetings
Prior to the official opening of the Congress, the Executive Committee and Council had the usual meetings. The Executive Committee discussed and finalised a new business plan that should assure deliveries for years to come. The new mission statement aims to fulfil the expectations of the members and supporting banks. To be a leading global association of wholesale Financial Market professionals contributing to the market development through education, market practices, technical advice and networking events.

Council approved the new statutes as prepared by the Special Project Group and gave some indications for the congress blueprint that will be developed in the next 6 months. Furthermore, the meeting took note of the developments around education. ACI’s Board of Education is finalising the work around the Diploma examinations while developing a renewed Settlement Certificate.

The Committee for Professionalism had an excellent meeting around e-commerce with the industry that will allow them to upgrade the Model Code, our self regulatory recommendations.

Conference highlights
As the daily volume of the FX markets amounts to $1,9-trillion, the impact of monetary and exchange rate policies in the past and in the future was the highlight of the conference. A panel of prominent Central Bankers, second to none, discussed the impact the rediscovered asset class has on their daily work. As prime brokers and hedge funds are heavy users of our markets, Central Bankers should be aware of the possible impact of a meltdown.

ACI will continue to offer assistance to the industry debate around these issues. We believe that a dialogue between central banks, regulators and the industry is necessary to maintain orderly markets. As in many discussions in the past, it is the right mix of people from the industry with the authorities that have created the free markets we know today.

In our anniversary book the work by my predecessors and committee members is described. Indeed ACI has been involved in the shaping of the markets since the early stages. As only 1/3 of currencies are floating there is plenty of work to be done. We are ready to be involved for the benefit of all. The book can be ordered from our Paris office by email to : secretariat@aciforex.com

Asset & Liability management in an ethical perspective with the Sarbanes Oxley in the background was discussed. Awareness of our customers of world affairs, the financing of ventures that are opposed by various lobby groups were discussed by an excellent panel.

Our customers were represented in the panel of the corporate sector. Their point of view on the exchange and interest rate environment might have been disturbing to some in the audience. We need to be brave and be open to critical voices to be able to provide an even better service.

Recent Event – The 44th ACI World Congress
The final panel was from the bank sector itself looking at our future. Do we still need banks, can we not have an all electronic system, financial world ? The issues are of course complex but liquidity is the driver. As in the exhibition hall, where many vendors were trying to sell their services to customer banks, so competition and liquidity is a clear driver of the future. Consolidation will happen, new products will be added. The age of electronic trading has only started, margins as a consequence will be tighter but there will always be room for specialist services and niche players.

Recent Event – The 44th ACI World Congress
Recent Event – The 44th ACI World Congress
All social events had a Nordic flavour, but the Gala Dinner at the Stockholm City Hall will be remembered for many years. ‘A journey through 50 years’, in the historic hall where the Nobel Prize award dinner is held every year was proof that our association has survived 50 years of turbulence in finance, with people committed to add value to the markets, their employers and above all for personal benefit. Our jobs are so enriching as we have the opportunity to meet and work with people from all over the world. We look forward meeting you again in the Philippines next year in May 2006 for what promises to be another excellent congress.