Howard Houlder, a shipbroker with his own firm of the same name, asked to give a full address to mark the Institute’s formal launch, averred that the shipbroker must be ‘diligent and painstaking, and careful in carrying out the instructions of his principal’. For him, the formation of the Institute meant that the work of a broker should ‘be lifted from a mere haphazard trade into the dignity of a profession’. Houlder remarked that the skilful broker gives his advice more by suggesting than otherwise, so that when the decision is arrived at it is due not to the skill of the broker, but to the wisdom of the owner who arrives at the decision’. He must also know everything about the crops of the world: ‘the cereal and vegetable crops of every kind that are grown, when and where they are shipped to, the average crops every year, where everything is produced and the markets of the world. He must have a first class knowledge of geography, and must know the relative specific gravities of the various classes of merchandise, raw material, etc, as well as be in touch with the world’s financial position.’
Post World War One
Looking back some twelve years after the First World War, Howard Houlder reflected that: ‘it is not too much to say that had there been no institute then, to formulate and press the shipbrokers’ requests for equitable consideration, the attention which was given by the authorities would not have been made to representations made by individuals.’ Houlder also said that the Institute’s efforts during the First World War had the positive result that ‘many brokers who previously had stood aloof from the Institute became members of it’. It was the aim to provide for better definition and protection of the profession or business of shipbrokers by a system of examination and the issue of certificates which convinced the Privy Council that the Institute was a serious professional body and so on 21st January 1920 it was announced that “by the special grace and certain knowledge of His Majesty King George V” it was incorporated by Royal Charter and would henceforth be known as the Institute of Chartered Shipbrokers.
The Royal Charter
The Royal Charter required the Institute not only to provide a proper education for its members and set examinations, it also insists upon a system of discipline so that any member acting in a discreditable manner would be censured, suspended or even expelled; in the latter case details may be published without any fear of legal action. That is, of course, still the case and although action by the Discipline Committee is infrequently needed, the committee members never shrink from their duty. Much of Britain’s trade was with member countries of the Commonwealth and these distant places attracted many expatriates to emigrate and continue their shipbroking in such places as Hong Kong, South Africa, British Columbia in Canada. Their desire to maintain their membership of the Institute prompted them to open local branches. Fortunately this had been foreseen when the Charter was drafted so that membership was open to anyone in the British Commonwealth as well as the United Kingdom.
After the Second World War
The rapid development in trade and shipping following the end of the Second World War resulted in shipbrokers becoming specialised. No longer “jacks of all trades” but masters of dry cargo chartering, or tanker chartering or ship sale & purchase or port agency. Many companies which previously only handled tramps or tankers, responded to the demands for agents made by the rapidly expanding number of national shipping lines, and so Liner Agency became an important branch of shipbroking.
In order to cope with the high degree of specialisation in shipping business, the Institute eventually modularised its examination syllabus and sub-divided shipbroking into six “disciplines”; the sixth was added because of the demand to extend our activities to take in ship operation and management.
History of the ICS in Ireland
On the 20th September 1974, thirty-five members of the Institute of Chartered Shipbrokers met at the Clarence Hotel on Wellington quay in Dublin. The meeting was convened by Stephen Cleary who had been a driving force to form a separate branch of the Institute in Ireland – and this was to become its inaugural meeting. It was considered essential to form an Irish branch so that members could, for the first time, make known their activities particular to Ireland and also to allow representation on the controlling council which manages the Institute’s worldwide affairs.
The institutes first officers and the committee were: