The European Securities Forum (ESF) has reacted to criticism that it is too Anglo-Saxon by agreeing to enlarge its membership to – as a press release today puts it – “reflect more fully the nationalities of the EU.” Loosely translated, this means the other major investment banks in Europe will be invited to join. The ESF is also aiming to replace executive chairman Pen Kent, who is keen to retire in April this year, with a Continental European figure to emphasise the change of personality. Kent, who is now 64, had always planned to retire from the ESF in April 2002 but will stay on until a successor is found and bedded down. ESF may even move its centre of operations from London to a Continental finnacial centre.
Other decisions taken at a meeting of members this morning include a stipulation that major ESF policy decisions be endorsed by a new Advisory Council of up to ten “very senior individuals” drawn from the ESF in order to “maximise their strategic impact.” Since the ESF will continue to have an Executive Committee, and will also meet from time to time either in working groups, the new layer suggests some members have not always supported the ESF line.
#More importantly, the changes emphasise that ESF hasdecided not to activate the “suinset cklause” it is constitution – proving yet again,perhaps, that it iseasier to open a talking shop than to close one. Says Pen Kent, Executive Chairman of the ESF: “I very much welcome these steps. Although we believe we have largely won the intellectual argument for a more efficient infrastructure for the pan-European capital market, there is still a long way to go to make it a reality”.