The CME Group Melamed-Arditti Innovation Award is the signature program of the CME Group Center for Innovation. The award honors an individual or group of individuals whose innovative ideas, products or services have created significant change to markets commerce or trade. The award strives to celebrate innovation in action — not only the creative idea, but also the impact that practical application of the idea has made on improving the economic well-being of individuals, an industry or a nation.
CME Group named this award to honor Leo Melamed for his revolutionary achievements in introducing financial futures instruments to futures markets in 1972, and Fred Arditti, whose achievements in the 1980s developing CME's eurodollar interest rate and weather futures significantly advanced the management of risk in the futures industry. These innovations were instrumental in helping CME Group become the world's leading and most diverse derivatives marketplace.
Leo Melamed is recognized as the founder of financial futures. As Chairman of Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME), he led the exchange's launch of currency futures with the creation of the International Monetary Market (IMM) in 1972—the first futures market for financial instruments. The introduction of financial futures paved the way for CME's launch of futures contracts on U.S. Treasury Bills, Eurodollars, and stock indexes in the decade that followed. In 1986, Melamed conceptualized CME’s Globex system, the first electronic trading platform for futures and options, and was instrumental in its launch in 1992. Currently Chairman Emeritus of CME Group and Chairman of Strategic Steering, Melamed continues his leadership role to help CME Group advance the world economy.
Fred Arditti developed futures contracts that transformed how businesses and individuals manage risk. Most notably, in 1981 he architected CME Eurodollar futures, the world's most actively traded futures contract today. Later, he was instrumental in strengthening CME’s focus on innovation in light of intensive competition from domestic and international markets. It was during this time that he originated weather futures. After his time at CME, he taught courses in futures and options while serving as a professor of finance at DePaul University in Chicago, as chairman of the University of Florida's Economics Department, and as a visiting professor at several institutions. Arditti authored the book "Derivatives" which remains one of the most authoritative publications on the subject at U.S. universities.
The CME Group Competitive Markets Advisory Council (CMAC), a council of outside advisors organized by Nobel Laureate Myron Scholes and Leo Melamed in 2004, is responsible for selecting each year’s award recipient. John Gould, the Steven G. Rothmeier Distinguished Service Professor of Economics, University of Chicago Booth School of Business, serves as the council’s chairman. Other members include Gary S. Becker, Nobel Prize-Winning Economist, Professor of Economics and Sociology, University of Chicago; David D. Hale, International Economist and Founder, Hale Advisors, LLC; Andrew Lo, Charles E. and Susan T. Harris Professor of Finance and Director of the Laboratory for Financial Engineering, MIT; Robert C. Merton, Nobel Prize-Winning Economist, and School of Management Distinguished Professor of Finance, MIT; Michael H. Moskow, Vice Chairman and Senior Fellow for the Global Economy and former President, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, the Chicago Council on Global Affairs; Robert J. Shiller, Stanley B. Resor, Professor of Economics, Yale University Chief Economist, Macro Securities Research, LLC.
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In 2013, the CMAC unanimously recommended that the award be renamed from the CME Group Fred Arditti Innovation Award to the CME Group Melamed-Arditti Innovation Award in recognition of Leo Melamed's revolutionary innovation of introducing futures in financial instruments in 1972. Melamed's contributions enabled the creation of effective and efficient global risk management tools through futures markets. These innovations have been copied by financial centers around the world.