It’s easy to forget the cold war and even easier for people in the west to forget the awfulness of the Ceausescu regime which impoverished Romania and left it in a worse situation than much of the Soviet Bloc. Yet from amongst the ordinary citizenry, there were those who not only opposed the despicable tyranny, they actually sought to make the future a better place for all Romanians.
Teodor Ancuta was once subject to an ongoing audit of how many suits and clothes he possessed by the Securitate as they endeavoured to ensure he would not stay in other houses than his own overnight.
When the Communist regime in 1989, it was not long before Mr Ancuta established himself as a local entrepreneur and he soon realised an aim, to create a ‘mini-Chicago’ exchange: in 1994 the Sibiu Commodities Exchange was founded and floor trading began. By 1997, the exchange became the first derivatives exchange (Sibiu Monetary Financial and Commodities Exchange) and in 1998 Ancuta created the Romanian Clearing House as a Central Counterparty. Options were also traded soon after and in 2000, the open outcry floor was replaced with the locally developed SAGITARIUS electronic trading system. The exchange expanded to become a cash marketplace with its own depositary in 2010.
Young Markets is delighted to inaugurate its Hall of Fame with a wonderful Innovator, a man who exemplifies the entrepreneurial spirit of the New Europe and has fought so hard to achieve his successes, Teodor Ancuta, a lifetime laureate of Young Markets!
Colin Howard is a digital visionary of the first order who has made many innovations in both financial and other sectors. He was a pioneer in the introduction of electronic petrol pumps and oversaw Britain’s first electronic credit card transaction – the acoustic couplers throbbed with 200 baud as the transaction was cleared some 40 years ago!
I joined Colin and helped him with the Business Plan for his next project, Diameter Stockbrokers, an Execution Only service that was designed to bulk trade electronically and pass on the cheap cost to Sid.
After Diameter Colin created Disoft Research (Di – part of Diameter’s name and a play on Dihard). Disoft was a cross between a thinktank and a software house tailor making systems for companies such as Crellins (Solicitors) and Girlings (Retirement Rentals) Faxon America (Library Subscription Engine) plus many others with each development always pushing the boundaries.
With funds somewhat depleted Colin spent almost his last penny buying an Instant Internet box. He proudly came back to the office with and stated that ‘we’ were going to build an Internet company. At the time no one knew what a Domain Name was let alone having a website. So BusinessNet was formed and started off using aerials in Aldershot before hoisting one on top of the Barbican to beam into London. With line of sight and other technical issues some big pipes were installed at the new offices in Mansell Street London. BusinessNet was a B2B ISP with a direct line into most of the blue chip companies in the Square Mile and this is what appealed to Level 3 and they bought the company to form their London Gateway.
SatinNet was a sister Company to BusinessNet looking at Internet Services delivered by Satellite. Level 3 did not want this company in the deal as they thought Satellite delivery was too difficult to finally perfect and would never catch on. With hindsight perhaps they did miss an opportunity but Colin took it forward fixing the technical problems of the ACK back and other latency issues with his Bandway project ideal for service delivery in many areas lacking physical infrastructure or a marine environment.
Colin has spent the past decade and more focussed on COMDAQ. It began as an Universal Exchange Platform with the capacity to trade Equities and Commodities. Difference in market practice across asset classes, led to a split with Equities being developed in AESX (The Alternative Stock Exchange) and more specialised Exchanges such as PPDAQ (Private Placement) plus ShareRegistrar where with demat there could be real end to end T=0 and Market Discovery.
COMDAQ has concentrated on Physical Commodities plus helping to build the INSCX Exchange specialising in Nano Commodities a classic network of buyers & sellers within the rules of the exchange. At the same time, developing trust, trade finance and reputable markets is proving a challenge in many commodities arenas where transparency is underdeveloped and fraud often rears its ugly head.
Colin Howard, stands as somebody who has always seen himself as a developer of tangible business but using the intangible powers of networks – for his lifelong devotion to creating prosperity and fair markets, he has been inducted into the Young Markets Hall of Fame.
– Tina Stevens