Hearing Insights From Our Future Leaders



ISDA Chief Executive Officer Scott O'Malia offers informal comments on important OTC derivatives issues in derivatiViews, reflecting ISDA's long-held commitment to making the market safer and more efficient.

One of the hallmarks of ISDA has always been the wide variety of perspectives across our membership. With 960 institutions across 78 countries, ISDA represents the full breadth of the derivatives market, spanning all geographies and sectors. Across our working groups and committees, we recognize and value the different views, insights and experience that our members bring to the table.

But we also have a duty to make sure that we develop a future generation of leaders that reflects and embraces the diverse makeup of the industry. That is why we have just launched ISDA Future Leaders in Derivatives (IFLD), an ambitious professional development program that will support and develop emerging leaders by giving them valuable opportunities to work with other practitioners from all parts of the derivatives market.

This initiative is also part of our ongoing efforts to promote greater diversity at all levels of ISDA and the industry. Numerous studies have shown that greater diversity is not only a moral imperative, but it also leads to better outcomes. I’m tremendously proud of the steps we have already taken, but we must continue to make progress in ensuring our leadership and our membership embrace diversity, now and in the future.

Last week, we welcomed nearly 50 participants to the IFLD’s first intake. They are a diverse and enthusiastic group of professionals, drawn from all corners of the derivatives market. Our first IFLD cohort collectively represents buy side, sell side, law firms and service providers in jurisdictions around the world.

Their work on the program begins immediately as they are split into two working groups that will focus on some of the most pressing issues facing the industry today – environmental, social and governance (ESG), and technology and innovation. Over the coming months, they will work together to engage with stakeholders, develop positions and produce thought-leadership materials that will be presented at ISDA events next year. They will also have access to training materials and other resources to support their professional development.

The IFLD program has obvious advantages for the participants, enabling them to gain new skills and broaden their network in the industry, but ISDA will also benefit greatly from the expertise and ideas that emerge from this group of professionals. I’m excited to engage with our IFLD participants on these important issues, and I know that they will each bring valuable perspectives to the working groups.

The derivatives market has an exciting future, and there will be both challenges and opportunities ahead, which will include the growth of ESG and the promise of new technologies. As the IFLD program gets under way, we are reminded of the need to develop and nurture a future generation of leaders that will uphold the derivatives market of the future.

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