The World Federation of Diamond Bourses aims to look after the interests of diamond exchanges that are affiliates, and their individual members.
The WFDB aids the friendly settlement or arbitration of disputes between the members of the affiliated exchanges and between the affiliated diamond bourses. The WFDB also aims to promote world trade and encourage the setting-up of new bourses.
WFDB members guarantee to commit to the traditions, principles of mutual trust, consideration and friendship among members of the exchanges around the world.
Individual exchanges maintain their autonomy in all internal matters, while agreeing that decisions made locally comply with the general legal framework, ratified by the WFDB General Assembly, acting in its capacity as the supreme legislative organ of the federation.
A bourse whose members deal in diamonds, precious stones or jewellery is entitled to apply for membership of the WFDB provided they have been established for at least one full year under a written constitution, have a clearly designated and representative governing body, and are able to prove their means of subsistence.
The WFDB General Assembly is required to meet every two years at World Diamond Congresses—although on occasion, due to special circumstances a three-year hiatus has occurred. In those years that the WFDB general assembly does not meet, the various bourses’ leadership assemble as a single location for high-level discussions, at what today is known as the President's Meeting.
Only the General Assembly is entitled to amend the WFDB By-Laws and/or Inner Rules, to decide upon the admission of new delegates, to elect the executive officers of the WFDB, to nominate honorary officers of the WFDB, to decide upon the place where the next congress shall be held, and to determine the amount of the yearly contribution payable by each bourse. Each affiliated bourse is represented in the WFDB General Assembly by a maximum of three members. However, within the General Assembly, each affiliated bourse is entitled to one vote.
The Executive Officers of the WFDB are the President, Vice President, Secretary General and Treasurer. The President chairs the Executive Committee, which consists of the elected office holders and six additional executive members, all of whom are ratified by the General Assembly. The Executive Committee always includes at least one member each from every one of the four major manufacturing and trading centres: Antwerp, Ramat Gan, New York and Mumbai. No country may have more than two seats on the Executive Committee. The President and the Vice-President shall not be elected for more than three consecutive terms of office.
The seat of the World Federation of Diamond Bourses is in Antwerp, which is also where the Office of the WFDB Secretary General is located. The office manages the daily administration of the WFDB, and it is headed by the WFDB Executive Director.
ounded in 1947 as a body that would unite diamond exchanges under one roof, the World Federation of Diamond Bourses (WFDB) would come to provide a common set of trading practices for bourses trading in rough and polished diamonds, as well as coloured stones.
HISTORY OF THE WFDB
The WFDB dates back to 1946 when Jack Sigman, the then-president of the New York Diamond Dealers Club, held discussions in Antwerp about creating a body that would protect the collective interests of the diamond trade. The inaugural meeting of the WFDB took place in Antwerp in July 1947. Joseph Lens from Belgium was elected the first WFDB president.
In 1948, a second Belgian, Adolph Rotti was elected WFDB president. He would serve an unbroken term of 18 years until1966, when he was succeeded by Jack Sigman, who held the position until 1968. Moshe Schnitzer of Israel then took over the position of WFDB president, serving until 1972. He would also serve a second four-year stint, between 1978 and 1982.
Jack Nutkewitz of Belgium served as WFDB president between 1972 and 1978, Seymour A. Rosenthal of the United States served from 1982 to 1985, and he was followed by Edmund Goldstein, who held the position until 1991. Eli Izhakoff of the United States, who was elected to the position in 1991 at the 25th World Diamond Congress in London, became the longest serving WFDB president in recent years, serving for three terms before he stepped down in 1998. Itzhak Forem served a single two-year term until 2000, and he was followed by Abraham Fischler of Belgium who also served in the position for two years. Shmuel Schnitzer of Israel was elected in 2002 at the 30th World Diamond Congress in London, and served two two-year terms in office. He was succeeded by Ernest Blom of South Africa, who was elected in 2006 for a single two-year term. The current WFDB president is Avi Paz of Israel, who was elected in 2008 at the 33rd World Diamond Congress in Shanghai.
At the World Diamond Congress in Amsterdam in 1975, the WFDB and the International Diamond Manufacturers Association acted together to regulate diamond grading standards, appointing a joint committee to create an international set of rules, working methods and nomenclature. In 1978, the system was presented at the World Diamond Congress in Ramat Gan, and approved as the IDC International Rules for Grading Diamonds.
At the World Diamond Congress in Antwerp in 2000, the WFDB and IDMA acted unison once again, this time in an effort to protect the diamond pipeline from the infiltration of stones from conflict areas in Africa. Thus was born the World Diamond Council the all-industry body that, together with the United Nations, governments in producer, manufacturer and consuming centres, and NGOs, formulated the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme.
The ability of the WFDB to react to changing conditions in the market has, since 1947, provided the diamond sector with an ability to act decisively and in unison, despite the great distances between the various manufacturing and trading centres. This is almost to ensure that the world federation will remain the industry’s most important representative body for years to come.
This information was taken from the website of the WFDB. Please visit www.wfdb.com for more information.