ACI The Financial Markets Association held three seminars recently in Singapore, Hong Kong and Sydney aimed at raising awareness of the impact of the impending Basel II legislation. More than 330 delegates attended the seminars, which were managed by David Clark, honorary president of ACI, who recognises the work of the relevant national associations. “I would like to express my sincere thanks to the organising committees and ACI staff in Australia, Hong Kong and Singapore for the considerable effort that they put into arranging the seminars in their centres,” he says.
Clark says the reaction to the seminars has been “extremely positive” and that the feedback from delegates indicates a high degree of satisfaction with the content and structure of the seminars. He suggests a primary reason for this was the high calibre of speakers and the detail into which they went. “ACI can be proud that it had very conspicuous support from the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA), Financial Services Authority (FSA), HSBC, Bank of New York, Deutsche Bank, Commonwealth Bank of Australia, National Australia Bank, Westpac, ANZ, Clayton Utz, KPMG, PwC and Deloittes,” he stresses.
The staging of the seminars was helped by the fact that the HKMA and the FSA are very engaged with Pillar two issues, even though the Federal Reserve Bank has decided to postpone compliance. At the same time, the EU has passed the CRD which means that European financial institutions will have to comply with a parallel set of rules. The progress of Basel II is not static and other opportunities for ACI will present themselves, he believes.
Delegates to the seminars came from front, middle and back offices and there were also some lawyers in attendance. “It is clear that getting front office attention is still difficult, but much depends on the institution,” observes Clark. “The concept of focussing on what Basel II means for trading businesses was, however, widely applauded, and the consultancy companies felt that we had hit on the right theme.”
There were two different structures for the seminars, to reflect the level of interest from different areas of the local institutions. In Hong Kong and Singapore, the scene was set by one of the consultancy companies (after a keynote speech by the HKMA in HK) with a presentation describing the whole of Basel II. The objective of this was to make sure that the delegates were as equally informed as possible about the details. After that there were presentations on trading book issues and the operational risk charge. This was followed by case studies by banks and the seminar ended with a wide-ranging panel discussion.
ACI Hong Kong also held a press conference, which was well attended by the local media, who had a lively question and answer session with Clark and Simon Topping, executive director of HKMA.
In Sydney, a keynote speech by the UK’s FSA was followed by a panel discussion on credit issues and then by a consultant’s presentation on the impact on the trading book. This was followed by a legal presentation on the implications for securitisation and then a panel discussion on operational risk. In the afternoon there was a presentation on value, a detailed look at advanced metrics for credit and operational risk and the final panel and Q&A session.
“Both structures worked well and reflected the level of knowledge of the participants as well as the major local focus points,” says Clark. “We were extremely fortunate with the speakers. Those who came from London (FSA, HSBC and BoNY) were global experts on the subject, and those sourced locally had a real knowledge of the implications.”
Clark is firmly of the belief that the seminar programme initiative is a progressive one for ACI that fits into the educational objectives as well as its desire to raise the ACI profile in the professional market. “The next step is to identify the topics that would most appeal to our members and those close to our businesses,” he says. “Basel II (as well as the CRD) will be with us for at least the next year or two, and the repo seminars are already underway as well. Seminars in emerging market areas are probably the top priority, and perhaps we should consider asking the associations what particular themes suit their members best.
“I think that ACI can benefit from this globally as well as locally and regionally and that it is worth putting the effort and resources into making it a success,” he concludes.
ACI would like to thank the following for their sponsorship of the Basel II seminars: HSBC, Reuters, The Bank of New York, BNP Paribas, Calyon, Citigroup, Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein, Fortis Bank, Fubon Bank, Hong Kong Foreign Exchange & Deposit Brokers’ Association, Icap, Standard Chartered Bank, Collins Stewart Tullett, Commonwealth Bank of Australia, Westpac Banking, National Australia Bank and ANZ.