Feb 10, 2017

WFDB to Set Financial Task Force, Work with DPA on Evaluating Synthetic Detection Machines

The World Federation of Diamond Bourses (WFDB) has decided to set up a financial taskforce to follow up on the discussions held during the Finance Seminar held as part of the 2017 Presidents Meeting, WFDB President Ernie Blom said.  He was addressing the media, along with other leaders of the organisation, at the conclusion of the meeting.

Blom said, "We had very frank and productive discussions at the seminar and are determined to show the banks that the idea of the diamond industry as a high-risk sector is a misperception.”

He added that the WFDB believed that the industry is one of the best regulated industries in the world, working in complete compliance with anti-money laundering regulations, and promoting the Know Your Customer concept so that industry members and the banks completely understand what is required from each side.

GJEPC Chairman Praveenshankar Pandya said that in India only the top five or six leading banks have well developed structures and systems for dealing with diamond financing. “Our message to the 30-35 others who are dealing with the sector was that they need to take a long term view and invest in specialised setups – a diamond branch staffed with experienced personnel who become familiar with the workings of the industry, is essential – if they wish to make it a profitable business.”

Pandya added that the seminar has been an important first step in staring a dialogue with the bankers and the response has been extremely positive.

BDB President Anoop Mehta said, "We continue to help our members become up to datewith the regulations that are required. We do not allow cash transactions, and the BDB has appointed chartered accountants to provide free advice to all our members to help them become more organised and in line with banking regulations. The key word is transparency and we are doing everything to comply."

IDE President Yoram Dvash agreed with Pandya and Blom’s assertion that there was an improvement in diamond demand. “The demand from China has been consistently improving over the last few months, and the US had a reasonably good season, so the prospects for the year are good,” he said.

The WFDB representatives also reported that they held frutiful interactions with DPA CEO Jean-Marc Liberherr on a number of issues. As reported earlier, this includes working closely together on generic promotions.

The organisations had also decided to work closely to protect the integrity of the natural diamond pipeline both from the threat of mixing and the negative propaganda being carried out by some sections of synthetic diamond producers.

The DPA had also decided to carry out a review of the different synthetic detection equipment available in the market and prepare a report to help each player in the pipeline objectively evaluate which was most suited to their needs. WFDB would coordinate with the DPA on this initiative, Blom and Pandya said, adding that the aim was also to see if resources and research could be pooled in some way that would both protect individual commercial interests and enhance the overall efficacy of synthetic detection technology.

They stressed that the WFDB was keen to ensure that the natural and synthetic diamond businesses develop as two independent pipelines and would seek a meeting with the association set up by Lab Grown manufacturers to see how this could be achieved.

Pandya clarified that the GJEPC had earlier sought a dialogue with the association but did not receive a positive response, and that they had also declined a meeting with the team from Bonas & Co that was carrying out a study on the industry on behalf of the Natural Diamond Monitoring Committee set up by the Indian trade.

“We will act strictly against anyone found to be indulging in illegal mixing,” they stressed, even as efforts to improve detection and ensure that enhanced efforts are made to implement screening at every stage of the diamond pipeline to avoid contamination. GJEPC has already taken an extensive campaign among the retail trade in India and is working closely with associations at all levels to set up synthetic detection facilities at all the major cities acoss the country, Pandya said.

Blom also announced that the GJEPC had recently become a full fledged member of the WFDB and the organisation was also talking to other trade associations in diamond manufacturing centres to bring them into the organisation. “We have always worked closely with IDMA to ensure that the interests of the bourses and the manufacturers are closely aligned, and coming together under a single banner will strengthen the voice of the mid-stream,” Blom added.

Pic caption: WFDB leaders address the media (from r) WFDB Treasurer-General Mehul Shah, WFDB Secretary-General Rony Unterman, WFDB President Ernie Blom, WFDB Vice-President Yoram Dvash, GJEPC Chairman Praveenshankar Pandya, and WFDB Deputy Treasurer-General Julien Dryblooms.