Gay Evans of Banker Trust New York Corp. is taking the helm of the International Swaps and Derivatives Association at a time when customer uncertainty is running high due to recent losses by the likes of Procter & Gamble Co. and the Mead Corp.
The association has formed a committee of derivatives users that met for the first time last week in New York, the she said.
"The objective is to construct a dialogue with end users to see whast their needs are with regard to risk control systems," said Ms. Evans, who recently became chairman of the trade group.
Publicity Damage Possible
Ms. Evans, a London-based managing director for Bankers Trust, said that about 10 "major institutions" took part in the meeting, and that the committee will probably meet again later this month.,
While there is no sign that Bankers Trust will be held liable for the $102 million of after-tax derivatives losses by its client, Proctor & Gamble, the publicity over the case could hurt swaps dealers.
"I can't remember in the last 20 years seeing corporations complain about products sold by a bank," said Robert Albertson, a banking analyst at Goldman, Sachs & Co.
Derivatives are products whose values track changes in foreign excahnge, credit markets, commodities or other financial instruments. They are typically purchased by corporations hoping to hedge the risks in thier business or portfolios.
But the recent losses have raised fears that some corporations are using derivatives to speculate without disclosing the risks of their positions to shareholders.
Ms. Evans, who has been on the trade group's board since 1990, faces intensifying regulatory scrutiny of these business as she takes the reins.
The growth of the derivatives business and recent losses by dealers and users have attracted the attention of the House Banking Committee, the comptroller of the currency, the Federal Reserve, and international regulators.
Ms. Evans' experience with European regulators is one reason she was chosen to head the group following the departure last month of Joseph Bauman. Mr. Bauman stepped down as chairman when he left Citicorp to take a new post at BankAmerica Corp.
In an interview last week, Ms. Evans declined to make any specific proposals until a report on derivatives by the General Accounting Office is released later this month.
"ISDA acknowledges the anxiety over the rapid changes in the financial industry, and obviously the development of derivatives is part of those changes," she said.
She did agree "the current supervisory framework has to be updated," but added: "My fear is that if the regulators box derivatives in too much, corporations aren't going to use these tools that are actually quite useful to them."
Ms. Evans, 39, joined Bankers Trust's capital markets division in 1984. In her current post she provides risk management products to European investors such as pension funds and insurance companies.
Prior to taking her post in London, Ms. Evans managed the derivative and fixed income marketing divisions for financial institutions and was based in New York. She has also acted as an adviser to financial institutions on a wide range of services, including capital raising, restructuring, and asset/liability management.
Much of the regulatory clamor surrounding the derivatives business is due to the incomplete information provided to the marketplace by dealers and users.
The Financial Accounting Standards Board last month proposed more extensive reporting requirements. Companies would have to report the amounts, nature, and terms of derivatives and would require derivatives to be categorized as either held for trading or for other purposes, including risk management.
Ms. Evans said her association is forming a committee to determine what improvements in reporting are warranted.