Indians Dominate Swiss Futures Meeting

2008 may be the year emerging market exchanges ceased to be footnote participants at the annual Bürgenstock Meeting, sponsored by the Swiss Futures and Options Association (SFOA) and held this year in Interlaken as the Bürgenstock resort undergoes renovation.

As always, the host country – in this case, India – was the focus of Wednesday evening's opening panel and Thursday's entertainment; but representatives of the Multi-Commodity Exchange (MCX) and its parent, Financial Technologies (FT) did more than just put on a good show.

They worked the conference in much the way German and French exchange bosses did a decade ago – by making their presence and products known to potential end users from the more developed markets, while also hunkering down in corners with competitors and potential partners from their own sphere.

Meanwhile, its competitor, the National Commodity & Derivatives Exchange (NCDEX), has focused on the Indian market, thus developing products for domestic users in a country where 700 million people work in businesses related to the commodities sector.

As reported in Futures Magazine's September edition, MCX is on the brink of launching a pan-African & Derivatives Exchange (PACDEX), which has still not launched and was not represented at this year's event.

Interestingly, exchange representatives from Iran to Johannesburg confirm that MCX has been blitzing Africa and the Middle East over the past year in an effort to build alliances and forge partnerships.

Futures has long been one of the only western media groups to follow the development of FT and MCX, not to mention the stunning rise of co-founder Jignesh Shah. It's fascinating to see a man come from nowhere with nothing but a grand plan and the will to implement it – and then to see that plan come to fruition. (see October Futures for updated article on the Indian markets).

The mainstream press is catching on as well. Fortune Magazine, for example, profiled Shah in a special issue focusing on billionaires under 40, and now lists his wealth at $1.1 billion. We expect that press coverage and wealth – not to mention the network of exchanges he's hooked into – to continue growing over the coming years.

Submitted by Steve Zwick in Interlaken

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