The Minor Metals Trade Assn (MMTA’s) continuing growth in North America and Asia were top of Roy Walton’s agenda as he took his seat as the new chairman of the MMTA last week.
Walton has no immediate plans to revisit either the issue of warehousing or the development of a price discovery system – two of the hot topics of discussion during the tenure of his predecessor, fellow Darton Commodities director Guy Darby
A board vote saw Walton beat Gladys Smith of Sanab
to the post in March, and he was officially named chair at last week’s MMTA conference in Cologne
Darby welcomed Walton to the position during the MMTA’s annual general meeting in Cologne on Wednesday.
In an interview with Metal Bulletin immediately after his appointment, Walton said the MMTA will continue to target the US market, where it is still under-represented in terms of membership numbers.
Darby has helped boost the assn’s presence in North America, he said, but there is still work to be done.
A North American Committee is now in place to represent its membership, and 31 of the MMTA’s 144 members are based on the continent, he said.
Next year’s conference will be held in Washington, reflecting the assn’s continued focus on North America.
Walton will also be looking to expand the MMTA’s presence in Asia and East Asia, where numbers still lag.
“We’re still looking with respect to Asia and the Far East. There are cultural issues to consider [...] There’s also room for growth in South America,” he said.
Despite his global expansion plans, Walton stressed that the assn values its European roots. “Having our conference here this year shows our commitment to continental Europe,” he said.
Price discovery system
Walton has no immediate plans to revisit the introduction of a price discovery system, which was previously voted down by members.
“There was an opportunity to liaise with the London Metal Exchange to develop a price discovery system, which was voted down by members. I respect this decision,” he said.
Walton also has no plans to re-address the issue of warehousing, after MMTA members voted in favour of recognised warehouses being completely independent.
LME-registered companies, by contrast, are commonly owned by traders and banks.
“The members had strong views and we had an overwhelming response to warehousing. I have no intention to revisit this issue,” Walton said.
Improving member services and streamlining administrative processes at the MMTA will, however, be priorities, he said.
“We have lots of work in progress, with IT systems and a new website, and I want to get these in place as soon as possible,” he said.
Walton has been on the board of the MMTA for six years as treasurer and also chairs the conference committee.
The MMTA represents producers, consumers and traders, as well as warehouses.