Organisations sign MOU in bid for unity and shared industry voice.
The British Jewellers’ Association (BJA) and National Association of Goldsmiths (NAG) have signed a memorandum of understanding that signifies the two organisations working together to form a new, single trade association for the UK jewellery industry.
The landmark move promises greater industry collaboration and benefits for members through "strategic unity". The NAG and BJA have been in discussion about ways of working together for 15 months. The two organisations anounced their plans to work more closely at IJL in September 2013, with talks leading to the MOU, which sets out a programme of work to prepare for the formation of a new national jewellery trade association. Subject to the final approval of both the existing associations, this will be formed in early 2015.
The MOU was signed by during the BJA’s AGM at the Museum of London yesterday, with NAG vice-chairman Andrew Hinds stepping up to sign in the absence of NAG chairman Pravin Pattni.
BJA chief executive Simon Rainer said: "Here is the vision– a united industry pulling in the same direction, speaking with the same voice and creating even greater consumer confidence in the purchase of jewellery."
Hinds commented that both organisations now mirror one another in terms of membership type, the support they offer and their functions. He said: "We are both getting bigger and are attracting the same types of members, so it is time to meet the challenges of the future. If we don’t do this, we face a race to the bottom, so we will work hard over the next few months and will present our plans to our members to make sure they are happy."
Hinds added that there was still some way to go owing to the differences in the structure of the organisations, namely that the NAG is a not-for-profit association and the BJA is a member of the British Allied Trades Federation.
NAG chairman Pattni added: "Whilst we have established the guiding principles, there is much exciting work ahead for both organisations to bring this initiative to fruition."
The AGM was also a chance for new BJA chairman Gary Wroe to be inaugurated, taking on the chains of office from Gary Williams, who has become BJA deputy chairman. Helen O’Neill, managing director, of The PMC Studio, was elected as vice chairman of the BJA’s National Committee, the voluntary panel that sets the agenda for the BJA.
Williams said of the NAG and BJA’s plans: “I am so delighted that in my two year tenure as BJA chairman we are close to concluding this great venture which will be a significant benefit to the whole UK jewellery industry."
The AGM also revealed a number of facts and stats about the BJA’s current membership, with the combined total length of membership of current members standing at 10,000 years.