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Capital Market
For more than 40 years, the International Capital Market What we do
Association (ICMA) has made a significant contribution
to the development of the international capital market by ICMA’s mission is to make sure that
facilitating the interaction between all market participants: the international capital market works
issuers; lead managers; dealers and investors, to promote as efficiently as possible and to
an efficient and well-functioning market. promote best market practice by:

• maintaining the framework of

From its modest offshore beginnings the international capital market has grown into cross‑border issuing, trading and
a broad and deep market of around USD 16 trillion1 in outstanding issues, serving investing through development of
the funding needs of governments, supranationals and corporates from all over the internationally accepted standard
world. As the market has expanded across geographic boundaries and product areas, market practices;
it has assisted the free movement of capital across borders and the integration of
• liaising closely with governments,
economies, removing obstacles and linking the different national markets together,
regulators, central banks and stock
enhancing structural reform and integration of capital and financial markets.
exchanges, both at national and
ICMA is both a self-regulatory organisation and a trade association. It represents international level, to ensure that
members worldwide, who are active in the international capital market on a cross financial regulation promotes the
border basis. ICMA is distinct from other trade associations in representing both the efficiency and cost effectiveness of
buy-side and the sell-side of the industry. the international capital market;

ICMA has its head office in Zurich, where it was founded in 1969, with a subsidiary • e
 ncouraging networking, flow of
in London and a representative office in Paris. While ICMA has traditionally been information and the organisation of
most active in the international debt market, it focuses today on all types of market events.
securities, taking full account of the increasing integration between the debt and
equity, cash and derivatives markets, working with other trade associations where it
makes sense to do so.
June 2010 source: Dealogic

Setting standards in the international capital market

The growing challenges The driving force behind the creation of for the continuing development of the
of globalisation and the Eurobond market was an unfavourable international capital market.
consolidation in the tax regime introduced in the USA in
In the 1980s AIBD began to provide
banking sector, together the early 1960s, effectively forcing
data services to the market and in 1989
with increasing regulatory international borrowing in US dollars
launched the transaction matching,
activity, led to the formation offshore. The first Eurobond is generally
confirmation and regulatory reporting
of the International Capital considered to have been an issue by
system, known as TRAX.
Market Association in July Autostrade in 1963.
2005 through the merger of The International Primary Market
The Association was established in 1969
ISMA and IPMA, creating an Association (IPMA) was founded in
by a group of bond dealers representing
organisation with a broad 1984 by major banks to provide sound
banks and securities firms, as the
franchise across the primary basic recommendations for the primary
Association of International Bond Dealers
and secondary international capital market.
(AIBD), in response to a settlement crisis
capital markets. In 1992 AIBD changed its name
which threatened what was then the new
Eurobond market. to International Securities Market
Association (ISMA).
In the years that followed, AIBD enacted
a series of rules and recommendations ICMA sold its market services business,
governing market practice, thereby including TRAX, to Euroclear
providing the stability and order essential in April 2009.

Membership Organisation and governance

compliance by the Association with all
ICMA has around 390 The general meeting of the laws, rules and regulations applicable
members located in 47 members is the supreme to it in order to enable the board to
countries worldwide drawn agency of the Association conduct appropriate supervision of the
from both the buy and and it has, inter alia, the Association’s regulatory affairs and for
sell-side of the market. It is power to amend the statutes, overseeing, controlling and reporting
primarily a pan-European elect board members and on the budgetary process and financial
association, but with strong terminate their mandate, control of the Association;
links and a number of elect the auditors, approve
members outside Europe. the accounts, determine the (b) the Oversight Committee, which
annual subscriptions to supervises the executive committee
ICMA’s full members are firms who actively be paid by members and and any committee established by the
deal in securities and include: securities decide on the termination executive committee;
dealers and brokers; regional and of the Association. (c) the Compensation Committee, which
commercial banks; private banks; asset
determines the compensation of the
managers; investment banks and issuers. The Board performs a supervisory role
Association’s senior executives.
and is not involved with the day-to-day
Associate membership is open to
management of the Association. The The Executive Committee has
organisations that play an important role
board consists of sixteen members, one responsibility for the executive
in the market and maintain close relations
of which is the Chief Executive. management and administration of
with ICMA, including professional
the Association. The Executive
advisors, such as legal firms. The Board has established the following
Committee reports to the board through
committees assisting the board in
the Chief Executive. The Executive
performing its supervisory role:
Committee has established a number
(a) the Audit, Compliance and Governance of committees to assist it in the
Committee, which oversees discharge of ICMA’s functions.
Committees, councils and working groups on market
practice and regulation

Participation in ICMA’s
committees, councils and Legal & Documentation Asset Management and
working groups allows Committee Investors Council (AMIC)
members to provide expert
The Legal & Documentation Committee AMIC represents ICMA’s buy-side
input and direction in its
consists of the heads and senior members members and comprises asset managers,
work. They are valued as
of the legal transaction management treasurers of official institutions, and
forums for discussion and
teams of member firms active in lead- representatives of private banks and
reaching a consensus on
managing syndicated bond issues in hedge funds. AMIC is a forum for
topics of common interest.
Europe. It is concerned with market discussion of regulatory affairs, market
practice on documentation, including the trends and specific market practice issues
ICMA Primary Market Handbook (IPMA affecting the buy-side, with working
Regulatory Policy
Handbook), and related regulatory issues. groups set up at the instigation
of members to consider specific products,
markets and regulatory initiatives.
The Regulatory Policy Committee Secondary Market Working
oversees all of ICMA’s regulatory policy Group The Covered Bond Investor Council is a
and market practices work. It consists special interest grouping within AMIC.
of the government affairs, regulatory and The Secondary Market Working Group
compliance heads in member firms; the comprises market practitioners in the
ICMA Euro Debt Market
chairs of the sub-committees forming secondary debt market. Its overall focus
AMTE Council
part of the market practices committee is to ensure the functioning of this market
are also invited to its meetings. by regular review of ICMA’s rules and
The ICMA AMTE Council, based in
market practice.
Recently the focus of its work has been Paris, aims to facilitate the development
the regulatory response to the international of the depth, liquidity, transparency
financial crisis; bond market transparency; Euro Commercial Paper and innovative nature of the euro debt
and the future of the OTC market. Committee markets and to be a centre of expertise
for government and government
The Euro Commercial Paper committee guaranteed debt. Its members include
Primary Market Practices
comprises the heads and senior members issuers, intermediaries and investors.
of the ECP teams of member banks active
in this market sector. It is concerned
The Primary Market Practices Committee Council and Committee of
with the functioning of the ECP market,
consists of the syndication managers Reporting Dealers
including maintenance of documentation
of member firms active in arranging
standards, disclosure, the restructuring and
syndicated bond issues in Europe. The Currently, some 30 reporting dealers within
revival of the asset-backed CP market, and
committee is concerned with market the overall membership of ICMA form the
regulatory issues affecting the market.
practice in the primary market, including Council of Reporting Dealers. The council
the ICMA Primary Market Handbook comprises the market making community
(IPMA Handbook). European Repo Council and within ICMA and accounts for the majority
Committee of cross-border professional trading.
The Committee of Reporting Dealers,
Issuer Forum
The European Repo Council has been comprising nine individuals drawn from the
instrumental in developing standard council members, oversees the actions of
The ICMA Issuer Forum aims to gather
market practice as the repo market in the council.
the main financial institutions who
Europe has developed since the early
are debt issuers to discuss areas of
1990s. The European Repo Committee
marketing practice which are of common European Financial Markets
(ERC) is the governing board of the
interest to them. Federation (EFMF)
European Repo Council consisting of
19 market practitioners drawn from and
The European Financial Markets
elected by the European Repo Council.
Federation brings together trade
The European Repo Council and the associations across Europe, including
ERC meet regularly to discuss market Germany, Italy, Switzerland, the UK and
developments and make representations Russia, to discuss regulatory and market
to the European Central Bank, Euroclear, practices issues in common.
Clearstream, and national CSDs.
Regional organisation
ICMA has a strong regional
Members may be represented on the The 12 regions are: Austria, Eastern
organisation, with each
committee of their respective region, and South Eastern Europe; Belgium;
of the twelve regions
led by a regional chairman. The France and Monaco; Germany; Iberia;
having its own committee
Committee of Regional Representatives Italy; Luxembourg; Middle East, Far
which meets to deal with
(comprised of the twelve regional East and Africa; the Netherlands; the
specific regional matters
chairmen) reports directly to the board Nordic countries; Switzerland and
and organises meetings of
of ICMA, enabling the viewpoints of Liechtenstein; United Kingdom, Ireland
the regional membership.
each region to be fully represented. and the Americas. For Latin America a
chapter has been established to deal
with issues specific to this area.

Education ICMA Executive

Education –
For many years ICMA It also makes its expertise available in
has made investment in the creation of customised programmes
executive education for for member firms. Programmes
the financial markets a The ICMA Centre is a purpose built
priority. ICMA courses are facility on the campus at Reading
administered and overseen University in the UK funded entirely
Introductory programmes
by the ICMA Centre at the
by ICMA and uniquely featuring state Financial Markets Foundation Course
University of Reading.
of the art dealing rooms to provide
Securities Operations Foundation Course
students with hands on experience (see
The Association’s core executive It runs
education programmes are all recognised
academic programmes in international Intermediate programmes
as certificates of competence in the
securities, investment and banking.
capital markets and are successfully International Fixed Income and
completed by large numbers of ICMA members have the opportunity to Derivatives Certificate
international participants each year. participate in these high quality executive
Operations Certificate Programme
The ICMA Centre also runs specialised education programmes at preferential rates.
courses in markets, products and Primary Market Certificate Programme
operations, including Collateral
Management, Corporate Actions, Global Contact:
Custody and Derivative Operations.
for more information.

ICMA is committed to holding regular Regular events focused on specific areas
conferences and events with, and for, of the market include the Primary Market
members. In this way the Association Forum, a cross market discussion platform
interacts with its members and provides involving banks, issuers, investors,
a platform for networking between all the infrastructure providers and law firms.
capital market constituencies which it
The ICMA AGM and related conference
represents. ICMA provides speakers and
is an international event which allows the
assistance in the organisation of local
entire membership to gather and debate
events for members.
the issues of the day and to hear the
views of market experts.
Market practice and regulatory policy
ICMA provides services • setting standards of good practice for Europe with trade associations and
for members through orderly markets, in consultation with self-regulatory organisations in Europe
its market practice and members, so that membership is seen and other parts of the world.
regulatory policy activities as a “seal of approval” by their peers,
Given ICMA’s geographically diverse
in Europe and beyond by: supervisors and regulators;
membership, ICMA concentrates on
• consulting members and representing cross‑border, rather than domestic,
members’ views to regulators and regulatory and market practice issues.
central banks on cross-border
ICMA works closely with members through
regulatory issues that affect them;
its market practices and regulatory policy
• representing both the sell-side and committees and councils.
buy-side together, when they agree,
and facilitating dialogue between them;

• working in cooperation with other

trade associations, where it is in
ICMA’s members’ interests; and

• sharing ICMA’s experience of setting

standards of good market practice in

Market practice – rules, recommendations and

standard documentation
All ICMA members Primary market Repo
have access to the
The ICMA Primary Market Handbook In the rapidly expanding cross-border
ICMA Primary Market
(IPMA Handbook) is a comprehensive repo market ICMA has been an active
Handbook (IPMA
document covering the issuance of a force in standardising documentation.
Handbook), ICMA’s rules
broad range of international securities, The Global Master Repurchase
and recommendations
continuously responding to market Agreement (GMRA) is the most
for the secondary market
developments when guidance is required. predominantly used standard master
and the legal opinions
It is the most widely used issuing agreement for repo transactions in
on the Global Master
framework in the international debt the cross-border repo market. The
Repurchase Agreement.
markets worldwide. 1995 and 2000 versions of the GMRA,
developed by the Association, are
ICMA’s legal help desk Secondary market underpinned by legal opinions from
offers guidance to over 60 jurisdictions which address the
ICMA’s rules and recommendations for
members in all these areas. enforceability of the netting provisions
the secondary market form a reliable
of the GMRA, and the validity of the
framework for trading debt and related
agreement as a whole. ICMA provides
Legal help desk securities (both between members as
its members with guidance on the
+44 20 7213 0330 well as between members and other
GMRA and is the sole provider of
or professional market participants) and for
industry standard legal opinions on
+41 44 360 5239 the clearing and settlement of trades in
the agreement. such securities.

Dispute resolution - conciliation

and arbitration
In the event of a dispute, ICMA makes disputes in a swift and cost efficient
its conciliation and arbitration procedures manner with the help of experienced
available to members and other interested market experts.
parties enabling them to resolve their
Regulatory status
In Switzerland, ICMA’s domicile, the organisation” (ISSRO) for the purposes
Swiss Federal Banking Commission of the Financial Services Act 1986. Under
(SFBC) recognised the Association in the Financial Services and Markets Act
1998 as an “institution similar to an 2000, which came into force in December
exchange” and submitted it in part under 2001, ICMA retained its ISSRO status.
the Federal Act on Stock Exchanges and In 2005, HM Treasury confirmed that the
Securities Trading (SESTA). At the same merger between ISMA and IPMA does
time, the SFBC granted ICMA a license not affect ICMA’s ISSRO status. More
to operate as an institution similar to an recently, HM Treasury also confirmed that
exchange and approved ICMA’s statutes the disposal of ICMA’s market services
and by-laws. Following the disposal by activities does not affect ICMA’s status
ICMA of its market services business in as an ISSRO, notwithstanding that
2009, the SFBC’s successor, the Swiss ICMA ceased to operate TRAX following
Financial Market Supervisory Authority disposal of this business.
FINMA, confirmed that ICMA continues
Also in the UK, the predecessor of
to be an institution similar to an
the Financial Services Authority (FSA),
exchange under SESTA and maintained
the Securities and Investments Board
the Association’s respective license of
(SIB), designated ICMA in 1988 as a
1998. In this capacity and to the extent
Designated Investment Exchange (DIE)
of its submission under SESTA is ICMA
under its Conduct of Business Rules.
subject to supervision by FINMA.
Designation by the FSA means that
In the UK, the Department for Trade and transactions on the relevant exchanges
Industry approved ICMA in 1988 as an are more favourably treated for the
“international securities self-regulating purpose of the relevant FSA rules.

International recognition
ICMA is an affiliate member of the ICMA is also a member of the
International Organisation of Securities International Council of Securities
Commissions (IOSCO) and in Associations (ICSA), a global forum International
consequence, a member of the IOSCO
Self-Regulatory Organisation
for non-governmental regulatory
organisations, whose aim is to encourage
Capital Market
Consultative Committee (SROCC). the sound growth of the international Association
securities markets by promoting
harmonisation in the procedures and Talacker 29
regulations of these markets. ICMA’s P.O. Box
President is currently Chairman of ICSA. CH-8022 Zurich

Tel: +41 44 363 4222

Fax: +41 44 363 7772

Capital Market
Association Limited
23 College Hill
London EC4R 2RP

Tel: +44 20 7213 0310

Fax: +44 20 7213 0311