Josseph (Penso) de la Vega was born around 1650 into a family of originally Spanish Jews. He spent most of his life in Amsterdam where his father Isaac was occupied in the banking business. He was elected to several posts in the Jewish and in the financial communities.

After several dramatic works and novels, in 1688 Josseph de la Vega published "Confusion de Confusiones", a book of dialogues concerned with the operations of the Amsterdam Stock Exchange (which had been founded in 1602). In the preface to his book, de la Vega gives three motives for writing the dialogues:

(a) for his own pleasure;
(b) to describe this "on the whole most honest and most useful of all businesses" to those who were not in the financial business; and
(c) to describe, on the other hand "all the tricks the rascals know how to employ".

FESE believes that de la Vega's observations were highly accurate and are still of the greatest relevance today. This is why the Federation has chosen Josseph de la Vega as the patron for its prize.

Copies of an English translation of excerpts from de la Vega's book (published by the Harvard Business School) are available from the FESE Secretariat at cost.