ICMA 50th anniversary
For more than two centuries bond markets have been a stable and reliable source of long-term financing for governments, financial institutions and corporates around the world. They serve as a mechanism for the transformation of savings into financing for the real economy, thus constituting an alternative source of funding to bank financing. The bond markets are fundamental for economic development.

In 1963, the international bond markets reopened after a closure of 40 years. The inaugural issue for Autostrade, the Italian motorway builder, tapped the substantial US dollar holdings which had accumulated in Europe in the immediate post-war period. Other issues followed and this new market for dollar borrowings, dubbed the “Eurobond “ market, grew rapidly.

But dealing in bearer bonds across national boundaries brought with it unanticipated complexities in cross-border settlement. The problems accumulated to such a degree that by the late 1960s some trading houses were forced to pull out of the market due to unsettled transactions, triggering the idea of forming an association of traders to tackle the issues.

In October 1968, a meeting was convened among the main firms active in the Eurobond market which led to the formation of the Association of International Bond Dealers (AIBD) and its foundation meeting was held on the 7th February 1969 with 19 participating banks and securities houses. The AIBD set about establishing a series of rules and recommendations governing trading and settlement in the international securities market.

The AIBD grew rapidly and expanded globally along with the development of the cross-border markets. The AIBD equally established a training programme to educate market participants.

With the growing globalisation of this market, in 1992, AIBD changed its name to the International Securities Market Association (ISMA) reflecting its wider role in setting standards of best market practice internationally. In 2005, in an increasingly regulated environment, a decision was made to merge ISMA with its partner association, the International Primary Market Association (IPMA), creating the International Capital Market Association (ICMA).

Today, ICMA continues to be a collective endeavour of the industry with a membership base of over 530 organisations located in more than 60 countries. ICMA is active in all segments of the international debt capital markets, representing the views of all the users of the market, from the issuers raising capital, to the banks which act as intermediaries, to the institutions who are investors, and the central banks, exchanges, clearing houses and law firms which support market activity.

ICMA has been a key driver in the development of capital markets both in Europe and globally. ICMA’s market conventions and standards have been the pillars of the international debt market, providing the framework of rules governing market practice which have facilitated the orderly functioning of the cross-border bond market - the world’s largest market for international capital. ICMA recognises the importance of sustainability and has been working for capital markets not only to fulfil its critical role in economic development but also to deliver social and environmental benefits.

On its 50th anniversary, the International Capital Market Association (ICMA) wishes to thank all its member firms, partner organisations and individuals, past and present, whose support has made its work on the development of the international bond market possible.

With your support, ICMA looks forward to continuing to play its role in shaping the capital markets of the future.

AGM 2020

ICMA Executive Education