As the eve of the joint 41st ACI General Assembly and the 5th European Forex event nears, congress organisers have been preparing the Fiera di Milano exhibition centre for the 1,000 delegates and some 40 vendor representatives who are expected to descend on Milan, July 1-4.
Romano Prodi, the recently appointed President for the European Commission, is the guest of honour, adding his name to the distinguished list of guest speakers scheduled to address ACI – The Financial Markets Association delegates throughout the four-day event.
In a break with tradition, the congress does not have a theme per se. Instead, the business sessions will address a number of “industrial areas”, says one of the organisers, such as the impact of the euro on the capital markets.
Among these, a panel discussion led by Forex Italy’s president Angelo Brizi, who is also the financial director for Banco di Roma, will look into whether the move towards globalisation and financial integration should be regulated. At his side will be honorary Forex Italy president Ernesto Paolillo, general manager for Banco Popolare di Milano, helping to moderate the panel which includes Italian economist Giacomo Vaciago and David Komansky, chairman of Merrill Lynch, and Junichi Ujiie, president and chief executive of Nomura Securities.
Prodi will take part in a panel discussion with John Hawke, Comptroller of the Currency for the Administration of National Banks. The pair will address the degree to which harmonisation is necessary in the face of the world’s monetary policy development.
Another panel, moderated by independent consultant Alan Friedman, will look at the role that industrial companies will need to play in driving future banking activities. Panellists include: Marco Tronchetti Provera, president of Pirelli Spa; Maurizio Sella, chairman of the European Banking Federation; and Kim Woo-Choong, chairman of Daewoo Corporation.
The ACI’s own agenda will be taking place behind the scenes. In one of the biggest initiatives since unveiling the ACI Business Plan at the world congress in Osaka in 1995, ACI announced during Asia Forex ‘98 in Sydney last November that it plans to create an International Code of Conduct. The advancement of this ideal will be at the fore of discussions among delegates attending Forex ‘99 in Milan, assures ACI president Heering Ligthart, as will the push to gain a “Licence to Deal” accreditation.
Having already held its mid-year Council and Executive Committee meetings in April during the national ACI – USA meeting in New York, ACI will not be holding its traditional meetings alongside this year’s world congress. However, Ligthart assures that the organisation’s more pressing matters will permeate discussions outside the business sessions. On Saturday morning, Ligthart will address the congress, updating the members on Council matters.
Milan was designated as host of this year’s world congress after Jakarta, and then Malaysia, both were forced to withdraw following the financial difficulties that hit the region last year. Forex Italy was preparing to host the September Euro Forex, so when the Asian countries bowed out, Italy volunteered to bring its plans forward by nearly three months to host the world congress as well.
Sources say the organisers are preparing Italy’s equivalent to the UK’s Millennium Dome, for the event. While the main event takes place in the stunning Fiera Milano, the accompanying social events promise to be just as breathtaking. The opening ceremony and welcome cocktails will be held at the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele, one of Italy’s most prestigious thoroughfares. Friday night’s entertainment takes place at the Teatro alla Scala, overlooking Piazza della Scala. Saturday evening’s closing ceremony will be held in Castello Sforzesco, a castle constructed in 1450 by Duke Francesco Sforza.