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At IDE, we encourage innovation throughout the bourse and have even opened a technological incubator to host start-ups - Yoram Dvash

09 january 2019

yoram_dvash_xx_2.jpgA first generation diamantaire, Yoram Dvash founded ‘Y Dvash Diamonds Ltd’ in 1991 in Israel. While the company grew and made progress under his leadership, Dvash joined industry organizations such as the Israel Diamond Manufacturers Association (IsDMA) and the Israel Diamond Institute. Later, Yoram Dvash joined the Board of Directors of the Israel Diamond Exchange (IDE).

In the 2015 elections, Yoram Dvash was elected as President of the Israel Diamond Exchange. Today, Yoram Dvash is the driving force behind IDE and its Centre for Manufacturing and Innovation --- a facility established to guarantee significant contribution to the diversity and growth of the Israeli diamond sector.

Recently, Yoram Dvash was appointed Vice President of the World Federation of Diamond Bourses (WFDB) during the World Diamond Congress held in Mumbai this year.

Here, in an Interview with Rough & Polished, while voicing his thoughts on the current issues Yoram Dvash also speaks of his plans to steer the world diamond industry going forward.

Some excerpts:

It’s understood that all the issues /challenges being faced by the Global diamond industry were discussed at the World Diamond Congress. What were the remedies suggested after the brain-storming among the world leaders? Did any definitive results emerge from the discussions? Please elaborate.

Two important subjects were discussed at the Congress, both of which are aimed at strengthening transparency and consumer confidence. One of the issues is the System of Warranties Guidelines, which after a two-year period of discussion was ratified at the Congress. The System of Warranties (SoW), created in 2000, is a set of provisions that support the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme. The newly passed Guidelines are a voluntary set of rules for diamond industry stakeholders that encourage self-regulation in the trading of both rough and polished diamonds. The purpose of the Guidelines is to create a chain of accountability throughout the diamond pipeline.

Another issue discussed at the Congress is the importance of full disclosure of synthetic and treated diamonds. The WFDB has written up a Charter on the Disclosure of Synthetic, Treated Natural and Natural Diamonds, including duties required of member bourses and sanctions, and there was a great deal of discussion about this subject.

Congratulations on being appointed the Head of WFDB’s new committee to undertake strategic initiatives to advance the global industry. When and what will be the focus in your first initiative? Given the dissimilarity in geographies, different rationalization and so forth, do you think the other bourses across the globe will comply with the decisions taken? Your thoughts.

Thank you for the congratulations. I do believe that this is a very important committee and I am very gratified at having been given the opportunity to head it.

I believe that the WFDB is a highly respected institution with a brand name that carries a great deal of weight. I think that more can be done to leverage the WFDB brand for the benefit of the industry, and that’s an important aspect of what this committee will deal with.

As to agreement amongst the bourses on new initiatives we shall lead, I don’t believe this will be a problem since we all have the same goals and the same challenges. I am sure that we will reach agreement through positive discussion. I hope to begin the work of the committee very soon and to hold regular meetings through video conference and face to face meetings.

The Financial Action Task Force (FATF), The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and other similar watch-dogs have been monitoring the industry for quite some time now, but there’s no sign of problems abating. With consumer confidence at stake, now more than ever, is it time for these watchdogs to sharpen their teeth and become more effective? Your opinion?

While I believe that consumer confidence is one of the most important issues we must deal with, I don’t think that the watch-dogs need to ‘sharpen their teeth’. We have already made a great deal of progress in the industry in implementing the new regulations. But these things take time.

To be successful there needs to be a change in the business culture. This is happening. I see many changes in the industry. I think it’s more of a question of image. And this is improving as well since the industry knows how important good business practices are to its success.

What is your stand on the FTC guidelines? What was the outcome of WDFB’s approach to the issue with FTC? And what steps will be taken by WFDB in the coming days towards the issue?

I don’t agree with the FTC’s approach. The Diamond Producers Association have hired the best professionals – top legal, accounting and lobbying firms – to try to change the decision of the FTC. However, we need to be realistic as to what we can achieve. We’ll need to deal with the new reality.

The KP Chair may have worked for the benefit of the miners but numerous problems still remain. In your opinion, what extra efforts should be taken to ensure that everyone in the diamond industry gets their due, including the artisanal and alluvial miners?

I don’t agree that the KP supports only the major miners. The issue of the artisanal and alluvial miners is an important one and we need to ensure that they are able to make a livelihood and to enjoy a good quality of life. The new SoW Guidelines call for traders who source from artisanal and alluvial miners to promote the international agreements that support these miners.

Like they say, ‘good things begin at home’, what steps are you planning to take at IDE in terms implementing the strategic initiatives of WFDB? Your comments.

We have already implemented many major changes at the Israel Diamond Exchange. We’ve literally brought the IDE into a new era, strengthening management, introducing the latest technologies. We encourage innovation throughout the bourse and have even opened a technological incubator to host start-ups that can positively impact the diamond industry. And we’ve taken many measures to support transparency within our industry. These are some of the directions that I would like to bring to the strategy committee of the WFDB.

Aruna Gaitonde, Editor in Chief of the Asian Bureau, Rough & Polished