CME Group Chairman Emeritus Leo Melamed stressed the importance of competition for success in addressing an audience of mostly college interns at the Marketswiki World of Opportunity Summer Intern Education Series, as well as providing some fascinating and amusing anecdotes from the salad days of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME).
As is usually the case with Melamed, he just returned from a trip to China where he continues to attempt to plant the CME Group flag in that emerged economy and emerging global leader.
“The next 50 years of business in this industry and other industries will predominantly come from the far East, particularly from China,” Melamed stressed, “I am paying a great deal of attention to their future in futures to see that their business comes our way.”
Melamed speaks at a lot of universities in China and has been named an honorary Dean of Peking University.
His message to the students in the audience was both encouraging and challenging, perhaps even threatening.
I see a lot of young people like you in the audiences (in China). Why are they there?,” he asked. “Just like you [they] understand that this industry offers opportunity that is rare, it is different, its potential is huge and they’re all interested in how to get into it. Because you are in it, they’re not; they want to get into it.”
He continues, “It is heartening to see that many people and the amount of questions they ask. They are well educated, don’t ever mistake that, these [Chinese students] are educated; they have a love for education so there is a lot of competition you are going to have from [them] but that is what this is all about. We love competition, we live on competition, competition keeps you on your toes and it is that word that is the essence of what we do. We innovate because of competition, we innovate not just because we can create something but because we can do it better than the next guy, maybe, and that is what we keep trying to do.”
With that introduction Melamed began a series of anecdotes on the emergence of the CME (really the Chicago revolution in risk management products that is equally attributable to the Chicago Board of Trade, now part of CME Group) from a backwater exchange dealing in second tier commodity markets to the CME Group, a global leader in risk management.