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Better late than never

The International Swaps and Derivatives Association held a gala dinner in London in May to celebrate its 20th anniversary.

Highlight of the evening was meant to be a documentary about the achievements of Isda in helping to foster the growth of a global derivatives market.

But the show was stolen by the association's CEO, Bob Pickel. It's not everyone's idea of a fun night out to share a room with 500 quants, which Pickel seemed to grasp in his opening remarks.

"Normally people tell you to switch off your mobile phones and blackberries," he told the audience surrounding the dinosaurs at the Natural History Museum.

"Well, tonight, don't. Leave them on. You'll soon run out of things to say to the person sat next to you."

Such an evening could not pass without a mention of some of the low-points of the association's two decades.

So Pickel thanked many of the 'sponsors' of the event, such as Hammersmith and Fulham Council, Orange County, Gibson's Greetings and Procter and Gamble, without whose help none of the guests would have been in attendance.

After reminiscences from all the previous chairmen – which included the tale of an Isda delegation's visit to 10 Downing Street that was curtailed by an IRA bomb attack – the evening was inevitably running rather late.

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