I am pleased to report that the WFDB’s Presidents’ Meeting, hosted by the Borsa Istanbul, was incident free and generated positive results. The venue was spectacular which contributed to good working conditions. The social events hosted, a dinner cruise on the Bosphorus and a gala dinner at the Four Seasons Hotel on the banks of the Bosphorus, were superb. Photographs of the meetings as well as the social events will be available for viewing on the WFDB website.
As we have reached the mid-year period I would like to wish our friends in the northern hemisphere countries a good and well deserved safe vacation.
Database: Communications in general were discussed with the main focus on building a central database for the WFDB. This database will be hosted at the WFDB secretariat and will contain all the names and contact details of members of the different bourses belonging to the WFDB. The database will only be used for WFDB communications and a security protocol will be established to protect the names on the database. Member bourses will be responsible for supplying updated lists of members. By having the facility to reach every member from every bourse would create a powerful distribution tool to enhance the ability of the WFDB to reach its members at all levels and as such get information distributed more effectively.
Mark: The company controlling the World Diamond Mark has been established in Hong Kong. This company is under the direct control of the WFDB with the following directors: Ernie Blom, Julien Drybooms, Reuven Kaufman, Anoop Metha, Alex Popov, Rami Baron, Willy Rotti, Avi Paz and Suresh Hathiramani. As plans are formulated and implemented, we will keep the membership abreast of developments.
CIBJO: The presidents of the WFDB and CIBJO, the World Jewellery Confederation, Ernie Blom and Gaetano Cavalieri, President of CIBJO, signed a cooperation agreement, according to which the two organisations will strive to coordinate positions with the aim of positively influencing developments in the international diamond and jewellery sectors. It was witnessed by Eli Izhakoff, an honorary life president of both the WFDB and CIBJO. According to the agreement, while the WFDB and CIBJO will both continue to maintain full independence, they aim to coordinate positions in the areas of gemmological standards and nomenclature; standards and methods of disclosing of treated, enhanced, synthetic and simulated diamonds and gemstones; and Corporate Social Responsibility, good governance and sustainability, including the Kimberley Process. They will also share knowledge, information and assessments about developments in the international diamond and jewellery markets, protecting the integrity of members worldwide.
Producing countries: This new category of “associate membership” was discussed and would expand the reach of the WFDB.Producing countries across the world will be invited to apply for “associate” membership of the WFDB and in so doing will strengthen our position as the number one diamond grouping and expand the value chain.
Younger members: In order to create sustainability and build a succession plan for the industry it was felt that younger members should be exposed to top-level meetings like the Presidents’ Meeting or the Congress. A motion was proposed that each bourse should look at bringing a “young” member with them to the next Congress to expose the next generation of leaders to the WFDB workings.
FATF: The WFDB committed to work with organisations like the Egmont Group to ensure that the industry remains represented by industry experts at the highest levels. Dismay was expressed at organisations that did not involve the WFDB in its strategy. The Egmont Group invited the WFDB President to join them at Sun City in South Africa for discussions during the first week of July. The response from this meeting was very positive towards the WFDB who were invited to be part of talks going forward.
Banking: The banking sector and the relationship with the diamond industry were discussed. Chaim Even-Zohar was very outspoken about the issue. A good working relationship with major banking groups needs to be nurtured as they are key to the industry. The drop in profitability and the slim margins generated in the diamond trade formed part of the research done by the banking industry in regards to the funding of diamond.
Lab grading: This topic remains on the agenda at every meeting and discussions were conducted around the relationship between natural and manmade diamonds. The treatment of diamonds and suspect grading done by certain laboratories also formed part of discussions. A committee under the chairmanship of Harry Levy was created to plan a strategy going forward while the policy of zero tolerance to non-disclosure was restated.
Trade shows: This issue, first discussed in India, was again raised with certain members feeling that the WFDB should become involved in setting up a pavilion at international trade shows where members can exhibit under the WFDB umbrella. Questions were raised as to the availability of space at major shows like Hong Kong.
International arbitration: The definition of this type of arbitration was refined and a fee structure agreed upon going forward. The strategy was put in place to ensure that people/bourses and the WFDB are never placed in a position that could lead to any financial losses. A full description of international arbitration will be made available on the website.
WFDB website: Proposals were presented to develop a new website for the WFDB and incorporating social media links like Facebook. Two quotes were presented and one potential framework of a new site. Rami Baron is working on the website proposal.
Facebook: Andrew Meyer was asked to prepare a Facebook proposal and a budget that would be needed to both create the site and, more importantly, manage the site on a daily basis.
Diamond valuation/lab report: A request was put forward that a section is created on the front page of the website to educate and inform consumers on how to read a lab report on a diamond.
In conclusion, I would like to thank all for their contribution in making the Presidents’ Meeting in Istanbul such a memorable event. To our host, thank you for inviting us and ￼ hosting a splendid Presidents’ Meeting. Our next big gathering will take place in Antwerp in 2014 for the World Congress.
Ernie Blom President