The Grand Duchy of Luxembourg is the setting for the 2002 ACI 6th European Congress & 44th General Assembly. Taking place between May 23-25, the congress will offer ACI members the chance to discuss recent developments in the FX market, take part in panel debates, listen to an address delivered by the prime minister of Luxembourg and visit an exhibition of relevant FX technology vendors and organisations.
Magnus Allan takes a look at what delegates can look forward to at the congress.
ACI gatherings tend to be a healthy mix of social and business activities, a chance to hear opinions from market experts and political leaders, as well as an opportunity to catch up with old friends and make new acquaintances, and this month’s 6th European Congress in Luxembourg is unlikely to be an exception.
On the business side of the equation, Eugène Prim, chairman of the organising committee, says that the organisation is hoping to use the congress to stimulate debate. “What we want to achieve with this congress,” he says, “Is the start of a new dialogue between market participants and those who supervise them daily.”
The ACI Congress is preceded by ACI committee meetings. The Committee for Professionalism and the Board of Education will meet on Tuesday and the Executive Committee and Euribor working group will meet the following day. Wednesday’s meetings will be followed in the evening by a reception for ACI Council members hosted by the Mayor of the City of Luxembourg and the ACI Council dinner at Cercle Municipal, which Prim describes as Luxembourg’s equivalent to the City of London’s Guildhall. The dinner will be hosted by the Luxembourg Bankers’ Association.
The ACI Council meeting takes place during the day on Thursday May 23, with registration opening at the FIL Conference Centre, the site for the formal sessions, on Thursday afternoon. The congress opens officially to delegates at 7pm, with a ceremony and reception at Mondorf – Les Thermes, a health spa with a thermal spring and casino attached, situated near the Luxembourg, French and German border, close to Schengen. This will be followed by a Reuters-sponsored post-Opening Ceremony party at the Casino in Mondorf les Bains.
The main scheduled business of the congress will take place on the Friday and Saturday mornings. Friday’s session is planned to consist of two panel discussions: Financial Markets and Supervision; and Financial Markets in Political Crossfire.
The first panel, moderated by Colette Flesch, a member of the European Parliament and former minister of foreign affairs for Luxembourg, will comprise of Michael Foot, managing director of the UK’s Financial Services Authority (FSA); Paul Mercier, director of operations for the European Central Bank in Frankfurt; Zdenek Tuma, governor of the Czech National Bank in Prague; and Arthur Philippe, director of the Commission de Surveillance du Secteur Financier, Luxembourg’s equivalent of the FSA.
As always with panel discussions, it is very difficult to predict where they will lead, however Prim suggests that topics are likely to include the limits to liberalisation, fiscal imbalances and supervisory and monetary authorities in crossfire.
The second panel includes discussions revolving around European monetary integration, enlargement issues and politics, and economics. Norbert von Kunitzki, a former director of the Luxembourg steel company Arbed (now part of the Arcelor group) will moderate. Other participants will be Jean-Claude Juncker, Prime Minister of Luxembourg; Hans-Dietrich Genscher, former minister of foreign affairs for Germany; Neil MacKinnon, senior economist at Merrill Lynch in London; Bernard Connolli, senior economist at ING International; and Andre Roelants, Clearstream’s chief executive.
ACI Luxembourg wants to ensure an animated debate between the panels with lots of interaction from the floor. “We don’t want boring discussions where people only listen. There should be lively discussion,” says Prim. “To help matters along, we have invited the panel members to be there the night before so that they can make an early start on discussing the subjects. We hope for a free discussion among the panellists which should include the floor as well. We basically want constant questions and answers.
“Our members will have the chance to discuss issues with the people who make decisions,” he continues. “These people may themselves have controversial views on some issues, for example on the importance of the euro, the currency’s future or the future of the European Union itself. We hope the speakers will give their opinions on what will be the influences in decisions taken by governments and supervisory bodies that have an effect on the financial markets.”
Friday’s official business sessions will be followed by a free afternoon for delegates, during which time the exhibition is open.
ACI Luxembourg will provide entertainment on Friday in the form of a classical concert and gala dinner to be held at the Abbey of Echternach, which has stood on the German border since 698AD.
ACI’s 44th General Assembly will take place on Saturday morning, and will be followed by speeches from Yves Mersch, the governor of the central bank of Luxembourg and potential candidate for the vice presidency of the European Central Bank, and Horst Kohler, managing director of the International Monetary Fund in Washington.
The congress will end with a performance from the Circus Royal and a closing ceremony at Kockelscheuer, a recreational area in Luxembourg City.
The exhibition will be open from 9am on Wednesday May 22 until 4pm on Saturday 25, with delegates being given ample time to visit between the various sessions and speeches. At the time of going to press, 23 exhibitors (including ACI Briefing/Profit & Loss in the “Court of Honour”) had been confirmed, they are as follows1:
•ACI Briefing/ Profit & Loss
•Chicago Mercantile Exchange
•Elliot Wave International
•Finance Trainer Luxembourg GMBH
•Financial Software Systems
•High Frequency Economics
•RCP Consultants Limited
•Tullett & Tokyo Liberty Plc
Among the items of interest from the exhibitors are Reuters’ demonstration of the delivery of its straight-through processing (STP) solutions for the FX and money markets. The company also plans to showcase recent technology developments such as Reuters Dealing Link (RDL), and new liquidity via its joint ventures with ICor, e-MID and e-MIDER on the Dealing 3000 platform.
Based on a motor racing Formula One theme, Reuters says its stand will provide attendees with the opportunity to view its complete product range from price discovery through to settlement. The stand will feature 16 keystations using a circuit style layout demonstrating Reuters 3000Xtra/Live information and news feed; transactional capabilities via Dealing 3000 running with spot, forwards, e-MID, e-MIDER, ICor and RDL; risk and trade management products and Reuters Trade Processing. Also on display will be portal connectivity via automated dealing with a link to order management.
Attendees at the Reuters stand will also have the opportunity to win tickets to a Formula One Grand Prix later this year, the company says, and enjoy refreshments at its on-stand bar.
Julie Holland, managing director, Reuters Treasury Services, says, “The ACI EuropeanCongress is the ideal opportunity for Reuters to demonstrate to the foreign exchange and money markets how we are delivering on our promises made at last year’s ACI World Congress. With new developments such as RDL and partnerships with ICor and e-MID, we continue to work towards our aim of providing our treasury customers with integration, unrivalled information and news, liquidity and connectivity together with the best possible range of solutions available.”
DerivaTech will be showcasing its new, FX Portfolio Risk platform. The system is built opon the foundations of DTRisk.
Through FX industry surveys and focus groups, DerivaTech says it has been able to identify a number of key value areas for firms reviewing their existing trading and technology environments. DerivaTech’s next generation platform incorporates many of these value propositions, says the company, in a proprietary package including advanced risk functionality for more accurately measuring derivative risks; ease of system integration to existing infrastructure; custom user flexibility for models and reports; and rapid development of new tools by re-using purchased technology, among other features.
Many exhibitors confirmed for the trade show declined to reveal to Profit & Loss which products they would be demonstrating at the event, and so are not included in this report.
Aside from the trade show and business sessions, there will also be a full programme of activities for partners wishing to join delegates in Luxembourg, including visits to the country’s castles and museums. Delegate’s partners will also visit the city of Vianden, known to locals as the jewel of Luxembourg for its winding streets and imposing gothic castle which was built on the ruins of the Roman empire’s northern frontier, and enjoy a shopping tour.
“We have given our heart to this congress, and we have worked hard for it: everything has been done from the heart. We have tried to create a congress for dealers by dealers,” says Prim. “And of course we will have excellent food and excellent wine at the parties, which is always important to our members.”
1Information taken from www.fil.lu.