How I’m Not Moderating the Panel of A LifetimeJune 28, 12
At first glance, the details were promising. The Asia Diamond Trading & Investment Summit 2012, to be held in
The themes of the two-day conference include "Understanding the global investment diversification – balancing the risk and reward [sic]" and "Growing the investment market – Approaches to achieve hedging functions in China diamond market and to fully interface global financial market [sic]."
The English may not be the best, but at least the schedule of the conference was appealing with a list of important speakers.
The opening keynote speech is "The transformation of world diamond markets" by an unnamed person from the World Federation of Diamond Bourses (Avi Paz, possibly?) and after lunch, executives from Tiffany and Cartier will discuss branding and challenges in emerging markets.
After a long list of speakers, finally the 10th speaker of the day is Edward Sterck, a financial analyst at BMO Capital Markets. His presentation, “Fancy colored diamonds Investment-a vibrant investment” is scheduled for 4:30 pm, a time when most conference attendees – after a long trip across the world, a full day of schmoozing and hearing people talk – tend to get a little sleepy.
The second day includes a presentation by Fyodor Andreev, the president of Alrosa (listed as CEO of the company). Andreev has never spoken at a global diamond industry forum of this type, so the opportunity to hear him and ask a few questions is an alluring prospect.
However, the kicker comes at 11:45, just before lunch. Charles Wyndham of Polished Prices, Martin Rapaport and Adam Patti of IndexIQ will meet for a panel discussion titled "Diamond ETFs"!
Wyndham and Rapaport on the same stage? Wow, who could possibly moderate this explosive and surprising discussion? Yes, none other than yours truly!
"I didn’t believe that this day would come in my lifetime," Chaim Even-Zohar wrote to me, comparing it to the coming of the messiah. "It almost sounds like Benjamin Netanyahu having President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and President Bashar Assad over for dinner…"
The surprise was even greater for me – No one invited me to moderate such a panel. It is an honor to be considered, even though this is not going to happen.
Gary Chu, Event Director at Broaders Company Limited, quickly answered our email to the event organizers, "…actually we just launch the conference promotion, the programme you saw is the draft agenda, we are planning to invite you as the panel moderator, I'm not sure you will consider."
No kidding! A number of listed participants quickly announced the organizers never contacted them either. My guess – no one has been invited, and no one has confirmed their participation.
During a follow-up phone call with
What a shame. The registration fee is $2,195, non-refundable. The small print states, "In the event that Broaders cancels an event, delegate payments at the date of cancellation will be credited to a future Broaders event. This credit will be available for up to one year…"
Now the picture is clear. An interesting and star-studded (not me, the other guys) conference is proposed, registration fees are collected, then the conference may not take place and the fees will not be returned.
If this scenario is right, then this is nothing short of a sham. Investing in diamonds and the Chinese diamond market are hot topics for anyone in the diamond jewelry sector. Exploiting members of the sector to attend this conference is a cruel joke.
Oh well, at least they spelled my name correctly.