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Blom highlights challenges and new routes in financing at Finance Seminar
The Finance Seminar is part of the ongoing 2017 Presidents Meeting
By: Diamond World News Service
Feb 8 2017 8:48AM
Reference: 13883  

WFDB President Ernie Blom
WFDB President Ernie Blom
The 2017 Presidents Meeting taking place in Mumbai currently, included a segment of a Finance Seminar to address financing challenges standing in front of the global trade, possible solutions including alternative forms of credit.

WFDB President Ernie Blom said the meeting aimed to lay out the reasons that the diamond trade finds it increasingly difficult to secure credit and possible solutions that have not yet been looked into. He cited some banks withdrawing from the diamond industry in recent years and difficulties faced by diamond companies as some financial institutions believe the sector is a high-risk one.

"Our members want action and we are committed as their representatives to work to provide answers to their demands. Our industry depends on it,” he said. He highlighted the need to seek availability of additional financing institutions for the industry and ‘related to that, alternative financing techniques and how these could bring extra liquidity to the diamond trade’. In effect, this would lead to dialogues with new financing organisations not previously involved in diamond financing and a regular dialogue with banks and other credit providers.

According to Blom, a program must be prepared with finance seminars planned in Antwerp, Tel Aviv and New York, online information and courses to reach out to all members of individual diamond bourses and the development of financing and risk management tools to help the diamantaires to improve their own risk profile and access to financing. Blom said that the diamond industry was working to ensure being in full compliance with regulatory requirements, and that he was optimistic that diamantaires would realise the importance of doing so.

Bharat Diamond Bourse President Anoop Mehta said that the diamond industry is one of the safest in the world. "The small and medium-size firms, which have been hit by demonetisation, may not be up to date with the measures needed, but we are holding seminars for them to provide the information needed by the banks to ensure they will be in line with requirements."

GJEPC Chairman Praveenshankar Pandya said the diamond industry has to commit to new levels of transparency and to be more forthcoming. "The banks have been supportive, but they must show us the next level needed because the industry has grown in India and we would like to create a committee with the banks to enable a dialogue with them to allow them to have full confidence in the industry. We also believe there should be a uniform rate of interest for diamond firms because now there is a range of 6-7%, and there needs to be a level playing field."

Among the other speakers were former Diamond Trading Company CEO Varda Shine and ABN Amro's Head of Diamond & Jewellery Clients, Erik Jens, who spoke about the nature of the financing challenges facing the diamond trade. The Presidents Meeting is taking place between February 5-8, 2017.

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