It was 10 years ago that Profit & Loss unveiled its FX Hall of Fame, intended to recognise the achievements of the senior and not so senior members of our industry that have made a difference. The founding class highlighted the span we hope to achieve with the Hall of Fame, the inaugural members being from the cutting edge of the electronic world, hedge funds and banks, as well as across different eras.
This Wednesday – June 26 – sees one of our founding members of the Hall of Fame, David Clark, celebrate 50 years to the day since he walked into the foreign exchange division at, I believe (and he will correct me on this!) Bankers Trust. Most sensible people (I write this as a personal friend I should stress) would have retired by now but while David has “retired” he somehow manages to remain one of the busiest people in financial markets! He is heavily involved in aspects of the Global FX Committee’s work, sits on several boards of firms in our industry, is chair of the European Voice Intermediaries Association, the former WMBA, and, just for the fun of it, he expertly moderates panels at industry events, including our own here at Profit & Loss.
Thankfully there are many people still around who were in financial markets in 1969 but I am not sure there are many, if any, still working in and around the FX industry. David’s enthusiasm for the financial markets’ world is an inspiration to many – not least me – and his breadth of knowledge is, frankly, awe-inspiring. That is, I suppose to be expected, given the range of senior roles he has held in our industry.
I remember going to my first ACI UK meeting at Bucklersbury House in the City (it was Forex London at the time I believe) as a very young and inexperienced spot trader and seeing him for the first time as David informed us of the latest developments in the industry. Even then, it was significant that he managed to grab the attention of a room full of people who were, to be honest, more interested in what was happening in Dollar/Mark and the drinks afterwards! It was notable to me that here was a man who had the FX industry’s interests very much to heart, as indeed he demonstrated in 1993 with his letter to then German Chancellor Helmut Schmidt, who had attacked FX dealers where he expertly defended their actions.
I consider myself very fortunate that since that first day I have had the chance several times a year to catch up with David, the most recent being in Frankfurt where we had dinner on the eve of the Profit & Loss conference there that we jointly moderated (he will also now know why I rudely reached for my phone midway through dinner and made a note!) Long may we have many more dinners – they are always fun, provocative and informative.
David is a rugby man, however, I hope he will accept my use of a cricket term in wishing him congratulations on his half century, not only is this a remarkable achievement, it is to the industry’s benefit that he is still so willing to give his time and knowledge to help improve it.
So, with a reiteration of my congratulations to a close personal friend and someone with a huge depth of knowledge about our business, I would urge you to take the chance to have a chat with David – he is a walking history of our industry and a fount of knowledge for its future.
And if that doesn’t make him even busier I don’t know what will! Here’s to many more years.