From Social Network to Professional Network

A Brief History of the ACI – The Financial Markets Association
60 years of evolution.

The Beginning

In 1954, 10 years after World War II ended, the European economy had started to recover. In every country the local foreign exchange markets were reopening their doors, mostly under administrative control and close central bank supervision. Technology was very simple, with telex machines operating between banks, and direct lines were available with brokers. But as the market grew, the need to meet among professionals belonging to the same community, beyond national borders, pushed a few friends across the Channel to officialise their friendly and social structure.

On the 29th of June 1955, representatives from nine countries met in Paris, and the Forex movement started.  One year later, eight local associations decided to gather under a same umbrella: Association Cambiste Internationale. By the end of the 1950s, it had grown to 15 National Associations.

Early Development

The 1960’s were very hectic in FX markets, with revaluations and devaluations; FX market issues start to appear in the newspaper headlines. FX markets remained conventional as there were neither new products nor improvement in technology, but Euro dollar as a treasury currency starts to be a new tool for FX traders. By the end of the 1960s, there were now 25 National Associations.

In the 1970s, the FX market volumes, like other “Euromarkets” exploded. The oil crisis, the erosion and collapse of the gold standard saw international banks open branches all over the world. For the ACI, growth meant that what had been mainly European National Associations, was now open all over the globe, including the Middle East and into Asia. Concurrently, the Chicago futures markets, financial contracts were launched: this led to new fields and new tools for traders: also, computers gave new speeds capable of processing internal and external information. By the end of the 1970s there were 37 National Associations.

Expansion

In the 80’s the trading rooms, mainly FX and Eurocurrency pushed the doors open to a number of technological products, options, derivatives, off balance sheets, and negotiable papers. Furthermore, a new population integrated the trading rooms: the sales teams, back office staff arrived, bringing with them more and more sophistication, and middle offices appeared in the organisation. Important new types of ACI members arrived , and while they were not FX traders, their day to day work is involved in many aspects of trading other instruments, such as fixed income and money markets, but also of critical risk management tools, support staff and trade processing.

In this dynamic environment, the ACI created the “Committee of Professionalism” (CFP) in order to define basic world markets rules. This was a major step forward in or relevance, as together the ACI created a level playing field globally through participation in its association of permitted market participants. By the end of the 1980s, there were 50 National Associations.

The 1990s began some glorious years for ACI. Each country developed its own code of conduct and education programs, but ACI took the lead creating the Board of Education (BoE) in order to deliver worldwide certification to Over-the-Counter market operators in the various products and in various professions. A global Model Code was launched. Also in Europe, ACI was the project manager for EURIBOR. Total membership reached 24,000 professional individuals, representing a wide diversity of financial market instruments. A decision was taken to adapt the ACI name to aggregate all diversity trading activities: ACI - The Financial Markets Association, so by the beginning of the year 2000, there were 63 National Associations.

Financial Crisis

During the next 14 years, the banking industry suffered from significant volatility: firstly with the Asian region monetary challenges, then with the South American debt crisis, a number of countries and systems defaulted. The dot-com/tech bubble burst, and later due to the new global financial crisis in 2007-2008, the banking system, along with the global economy, was hurt. Electronic trading systems were focussed on efficient transformation of risk, and brought fresh ideas and structure to the market. However, a reduced the number of traditional OTC participants with an interest in the “old ways of doing business” and a banking culture that had lost its sense of moral obligation, saw a decline in ACI membership to around 10,000 dedicated people. Many of the bankers, who didn’t care about the values espoused by the ACI – The Financial Markets Association, have since left or have been forced out of the industry by a public who have demanded better.

Modern Era

To assist with finding a new direction for the financial industry and the global economy, the ACI – The Financial Markets Association provided a strategic response. The two important pillars of the CFP and BoE were joined by the formation of ACI Foreign Exchange Committee (ACIFXC) in 2010 helped provide a strategic response by bringing solutions to an uncertain and moving environment from is membership. Our collective contributions to the industry helped provide a cohesive voice, and offer forums to debate important structural and regulatory issues with interested people. Almost as though they anticipated the need, the CFP issued an updated Model Code in 2013 which was positively received by all financial authorities and banking community around the world. Every ACI member pledges to do abide by rules of ethical conduct described in it. Every year, the BoE certifies 1,300 new participants in front and back offices, and sales teams, with figures increasing. CFP questions are included in all examinations.

Today, the ACI – The Financial Markets Association is growing again, and resuming its rightful place in assisting the professional standing of the industry. A broad array of market participants from all sectors in financial services, from sell-side bankers and brokers to buy-side clients and regulators, are again understanding the enormous role that the ACI can play in the modern world. Many are seeking membership and the strong benefits that membership brings. Large institutions are involved in our training and education programmes, and the ACI Model Code is widely accepted as the single best global standard of OTC ethical conduct available to the market. Being a member of ACI is of tremendous importance in many countries, and our fellowship among ACI members can open opportunities the world over.

Presidents and Chairman

  • 2016 Bruno Langfritz, Chairman, (Switzerland)
  • 2014 Marshall Bailey, President Delegated, (United Kingdom)
  • 2013 Eddie Tan, Chairman, (Singapore)
  • 2010: Manfred Wiebogen (Austria)
  • 2007: Manfred Wiebogen (Austria)
  • 2004: Godfried De Vidts (Belgium)
  • 1998: Heering Ligthart (Netherlands)
  • 1995: Eugene Prim (Luxembourg)
  • 1992: David Clark (United Kingdom)
  • 1989: Willy Kestens (Belgium)
  • 1986: Hans Trelde (Germany)
  • 1983: Geoffrey Munn (United Kingdom)
  • 1980: Paolo Levy (Italy)
  • 1977: Robert Leclerc (United States of America)
  • 1974: Joop Estourgie (Netherlands)
  • 1971: Jacques de Dumast (France)
  • 1967: Guillermo Pelli (Switzerland)
  • 1962: Roy Bridge (United Kingdom)
  • 1956: Maurice Plaquet (France)

History of Congress

The 55th ACI Congess will take place from 26th-30th of April 2016 in Jakarta, Indonesia.

  • 2015 March 3-7, Milan - 54th Congress
  • 2014 March 27-29, Berlin - 53rd Congress
  • 2013 March 14-16, Singapore - 52nd Congress
  • 2012 March 22-24, Dubai - 51st Congress
  • 2011 May 26-28, Budapest - 50th Congress 
  • 2010 March 25-28, Sydney - 49th Congress 
  • 2009 March 12-15, Cape Town - 48th Congress 
  • 2008 May 29-31, Vienna - 47th Congress 
  • 2007 May 3-5, Montreal - 46th Congress 
  • 2006 May 25-27, Philippines - 45th Congress 
  • 2005 May 26-28, Stockholm - 44th Congress 
  • 2003 September 11-13, Beirut - 43rd Congress 
  • 2001 May 24-26, Singapore - 42nd Congress 
  • 2000 May 18-20, Paris - 41st Congress 
  • 1998 June 4-6, Geneva - 40th Congress 
  • 1997 May 28-June 1, Toronto - 39th Congress 
  • 1996 May 16-18, Frankfurt - 38th Congress 
  • 1995 June 8-10, Osaka - 37th Congress 
  • 1994 June 2-5, London - 36th Congress 
  • 1993 June 2-6, Helsinki - 35th Congress 
  • 1992 May 29-30, Sidney - 34th Congress 
  • 1991 June 5-8, Madrid - 33rd Congress 
  • 1990 May 24-27, Copenhagen - 32nd Congress
  • 1989 June 1-4, Lisbon - 31st Congress 
  • 1988 May 26-30, Honolulu - 30th Congress 
  • 1987 June 4-6, Tokyo - 29th Congress 
  • 1986 May 30-June 1, Dublin - 28th Congress 
  • 1985 May 30-June 2, Toronto - 27th Congress 
  • 1984 May 31-June 3, Belgrade - 26th Congress  
  • 1983 June 3-5, Luxembourg - 25th Congress
  • 1982 May 20-23, London - 24th Congress 
  • 1981 May 29-31, Paris (25th Ann.) - 23rd Congress 
  • 1980 June 6-8, Singapore - 22nd Congress 
  • 1979 May 24-27, The Hague - 21st Congress 
  • 1978 June 1-4, Munich - 20th Congress 
  • 1977 May 19-22, Montreux - 19th Congress 
  • 1976 May 28-30, Washington - 18th Congress 
  • 1975 May 8-11, Venice - 17th Congress 
  • 1974 May 23-25, Brussels - 16th Congress 
  • 1973 May 31-June 3, Lisbon - 15th Congress 
  • 1972 May 19-21, London - 14th Congress 
  • 1971 May 20-22, Copenhagen - 13th Congress 
  • 1969 November 28-30, Vienna - 12th Congress 
  • 1968 May 23-25, Torremolinos - 11th Congress 
  • 1967 June 8-10, Amsterdam - 10th Congress 
  • 1966 June 10-12, Paris - 9th Congress 
  • 1964 October 2-4, New York - 8th Congress 
  • 1963 May 23-26, Hamburg - 7th Congress 
  • 1962 May 31-June 2, Rome - 6th Congress 
  • 1961 June 2-4, Lucerne - 5th Congress 
  • 1960 May 24, Stockholm - 4th Congress 
  • 1959 May 8-10, London - 3rd Congress 
  • 1958 September 27, Brussels - 2nd Congress 
  • 1957 May 11, Paris - 1st Congress 
  • 1955 June 29 first council meeting of the Forex Club