The Association of Futures Markets (AFM) is a not-for-profit association formally established in 1998 in Buenos Aires, Argentina by 10 founder / members: Budapest Commodity Exchange, the Central Clearing House and Depository Ltd. of Budapest, the Romanian Commodities Exchange, the Buenos Aires Futures Exchange, the Amsterdam Commodity Exchange, South African Futures Exchange, the Warsaw Commodity Exchange, and the Malaysian Derivatives Exchange.
The prime objectives of the Association were to promote and encourage the establishment of new derivative and related markets and to organize international conferences to promote communication among members enabling them to strengthen their relationship and to transfer and share information and experience. This has since become the underlying ethos of the AFM which has become increasingly important in today’s fast moving markets.
The Early Days
Because some of the driving forces were in Hungary the Association was established under Hungarian law. The Association had struggled to achieve the minimum 10 founding members needed and soon after AFM’s establishment one of the original members had to leave the Association. AFM barely survived but thanks to new members it managed to do so.
Still, it was a struggle. New members were rare and the annual conference of the Association was little known among market participants. On average 20-25 participants registered and fees barely covered expenses.
A clear milestone in the short history of AFM was in 2001 when Paul Meier and Paul-Andre Jacot of the Swiss Futures and Options Association (SFOA) visited AFM. The discussions held led to a close co-operation, especially the hosting of a special Emerging Markets Forum during SFOA’s regular Burgenstock event as well as support in our own conference. This opened exceptional opportunities for AFM: exposure to the “mature” world of derivatives and to reach out to potential new members. The Emerging Markets Forum had become an important part of Burgenstock and helped AFM’s name to become known among many market participants. This in turn helped the AFM Annual Conference attract a growing number of attendees each year making it an event not to be missed. As a result, AFM membership has increased considerably since 2001.
Where is AFM now and what are its aims?
To assure broad perspectives in the participation membership is purposely open to a wide variety of market participants and as a result exchanges, clearing houses, traders as well as other participants in the industry, such as technology companies, have joined and support AFM.
Clearly AFM wants to expand its membership by growing regionally across the board and establish itself further as the Trade Association for the Emerging Markets, helping the members navigate the difficult seas on the way to success. This is not meant to be in competition with other established Organizations but rather as a complement.
AFM conferences are held in different places each year (for example recent venues include Istanbul, Bucharest and Budapest). Panel discussions are held where important issues facing emerging exchanges are discussed in co-operation with established markets as well as market participants. The focus is on active discussion and not sales pitches, PowerPoint etc., making it more interesting for participants. Obviously, the social side is not forgotten – networking is an integral part of any association and time is taken to learn something of the culture and history of the host country.
10th and 20th Anniversary Conferences in Buenos Aires
Argentina is an iconic venue for AFM, we tend to go back to this amazing country to celebrate our anniversaries and the hospitality is always outstanding.
It was therefore a great pleasure to return to our birthplace for the 10th and 20th anniversary conferences. Certainly, for the 10th anniversary we were concerned that the location may have led to a somewhat reduced attendance, but it gave us an opportunity to be present in a rapidly growing area of our world.
Anniversaries call for a special event, happening - something special. We chose not only a very special venue for the conference but also decided to publish our first book. It was a great pleasure that Patrick Young, author of many bestselling books and regular speaker at derivatives conferences, agreed to write “The Exchange Manifesto”. This book is a primer of markets, providing information to help the establishment and developments of derivatives and other markets around the world. It was formally presented during the 10th Annual Conference in Buenos Aires. This has since become a classic publication both in promoting AFM and its marketplaces as well as providing a welcome tool to promote exchange market and derivatives literacy in the world. As always big thanks to Patrick and the support we received to reach this milestone. Going back to Argentina for our 20th was an easy decision. With the support of our local members, we were able to attract a number of regional delegates and count this as one of our most successful conferences.
How to contact AFM
For more information on AFM, its members and its conferences, please contact the Secretariat of AFM at krisztina(at)afmorg.net or (36-30) 34 35 370 (phone).