Gaurang Desai, Chief Executive Officer of the Dubai Gold & Commodities Exchange (DGCX), (pictured right), has been a founding team member of DGCX since its inception in 2005. A derivatives market specialist with close to two decades of experience in handling variety of senior roles. Gaurang has been at the helm of operations since the inception of DGCX in November 2005. Prior to this engagement, Gaurang was involved in market structure development initiatives in areas such as Commodities, Equities, Securities depository and B2B online marketplaces with the National Stock Exchange of India, National Commodity & Derivatives Exchange and Reliance Group. Read more about Desai here.
Ethisphere recently had the opportunity to talk to Desai about why ethics is an important part of business in the Middle East.
In your view, how would you describe ethics in the Middle East and how is DGCX helping shape that?
The businesses in UAE like the rest of the world went through the ramifications and rebuilding its business model post the 2008-09 financial crisis. For a young economy like Dubai, this brought a few insightful and valuable takeaways with sustainability and CSR at the core of economic growth.
Dubai and UAE have been thought leaders within the region; a case in point being the recent passing of a law for Dubai Economic Security Centre which amongst other things, aims to address investor risks, combat activities that may harm the financial markets, predict risks and economic trends that may impact the national economy and develop solutions to address them. The Dubai Chamber of Commerce guides companies to becoming more ethically responsible and conscious through the work of the Centre for Responsible Business.
DGCX being the region’s largest derivatives exchange and a Government of Dubai related entity drives the same alignment in its strategy both inside and outside.
DGCX is governed as per international standards of supervision by the federal regulator, the SCA (Securities & Commodities Authority of the UAE) and underlines our drive to provide a transparent, regulated and safe environment to trade in global commodities. The very basis of our exchange goes back to the principle of providing the economy a robust platform for fair price discovery which is essential to prevent any manipulation in the commodities market. DGCX has also implemented a globally recognized trading surveillance mechanism that helps us monitor and prevent any attempt to manipulate our markets.
Ethical standards within DGCX are monitored through internal and/or external auditors and the core values embedded throughout DGCX makes it clear that all employees are responsible for ensuring good ethical conduct.
Based on your years of expertise, do you believe there is a balance between regulation and room for growth in the industry?
Sustainable growth and good regulatory practice go hand-in-hand.
It is noteworthy that the regulated and cleared derivatives industry did not the cause the financial crisis. To the contrary, it was singled out by the G20 summit as a model for making the marketplace safer.
Over-regulation has the potential to harm economic growth and striking the right balance between healthy risk-taking and market safety is the key to our markets particularly off late where the derivatives trading industry has been at the receiving end.
At DGCX, we work very closely with our regulator SCA to shape the regulatory landscape and also to provide a transparent, equitable and fair marketplace. We definitely hope that regulators and industry can find a better balance between protecting the markets and allowing for growth.
It is important for us as an integral part of the financial markets infrastructure to garner trust of our market participant and promote collaboration within the industry.
As the CEO how do you treat ethics and integrity and ensure that it is part of DGCX’s DNA? Can you provide some best practices in this area?
Ethics and integrity, is something that is instilled and embedded in one’s life from a young age. These personal values have helped me forge many of the decisions and practices at DGCX. As an individual, team or organization, we become what we are from our demonstrated actions and practices over a period of time. I strongly believe that there is no shortcut to success; hard work, the ability to persist against challenges, and meticulous execution make all the difference.
As a leader, my actions are deeply rooted in conscientious choices made on daily basis to optimize organizational resources of people, capital, information and time and linking them appropriately to achieve best outcome for DGCX.
I value justice and fairness in business dealings and for me- it’s about leading by example. I don’t expect my people to do anything that I wouldn’t do myself. In an increasingly complex and globalized business environment, our integrity is tested continuously. At DGCX, we strive to hold highest standards of business conduct in our industry by:
- Being open to feedback;
- Accepting personal responsibility;
- Respectfully agree to disagree on dubious practices;
- Acting with integrity at all times, even if it is inconvenient at times; and
- Keeping our word and agreements; and finally knowing the difference between technically compliant and being ethically sound.
Join us on September 20 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates for Ethisphere’s Middle East Ethics & Compliance Summit, which offers leading executives from the regional business community a unique opportunity to connect in the interest of inspiring corporate integrity and honored compliance practices. Register here.