A Look Back at Boca: 2014 Highlights

A Look Back at Boca: 2014 Highlights

Each spring the FIA hosts its annual meeting in Boca Raton, Florida where more than 1,000 industry leaders from around the world gather to discuss current issues and exchange ideas. This year’s event was held March 11th-14th at the Boca Raton Resort & Club.

A welcome reprieve from the unrelenting Chicago winter, OptionsCity CEO Hazem Dawani, Chief Business Development Officer Jerald David, and Pat Gardner from Business Development all attended the event.

OptionsCity exhibited at booth #7 at FIA Boca. OptionsCity’s booth featured a dynamic video highlighting the features and functionality in the latest major release of Metro 5.0, the company’s flagship options trading and market making platform. Our team was busy making deals on the sideline while a steady stream of guests stopped by the OptionsCity booth to load up with swag – in the form of custom stylus pens and packs of signature orange golf tees. (Perhaps a welcome change from the classic orange stress balls.)

Pat Gardner (Business Development) and Hazem Dawani (CEO) are shown at OptionsCity Software's booth (#7) at FIA Boca.

Pat Gardner (Business Development) and Hazem Dawani (CEO) are shown at OptionsCity Software’s booth (#7) at FIA Boca.

Our two main takeaways: (1) derivatives use continues to bounce back in tandem with the global economy; and (2) regulators and industry constituents are slowly entering into a new era of cooperation and technological innovation.

A prime part of this year’s agenda included public policy leaders, regulators, and Congressional staff. A key message was directed by CFTC Chairman Gary Gensler, who highlighted compliance success, while noting that more needed to be done.

The new FIA Global brand, logo, board, and structure were also introduced, along with the newly named FIA Europe (formerly called FOA). The FIA also released its annual report on global trends in futures & options trading.

Ted Koppel, the anchor and managing editor of Nightline and the longest-serving news anchor in broadcast network history, was the keynote speaker at Tuesday’s lunch.

With clearing being a hot topic, Wednesday featured a highly-talked-about exchange leader panel and RJ O’Brien was honored for a century of service to the futures industry. Following recent CFTC approval, SGX introduced futures on new currency pairs and collaborative efforts with Dalian Commodity Exchange. Also discussed were the TAIFEX products being launched by Eurex beginning May 15th.

Among the many industry firms announcing platform changes, including OptionsCity, Azul Systems announced its ReadyNow!, a new technology intended to solve the “warm-up” problem prevalent in many Java applications.

FIA held a Swap Execution Facilities (SEF) showcase where nine swap execution facilities talked about the development of a new swaps trading infrastructure. Also discussed were challenges for users, broker dealers and FCMs, including package trade issues, liquidity, regulatory requirements, and trade allocations.

Between the conference agenda and the balmy Florida weather, everyone was in good spirits. Special golfing events and even a 5K run were among the several activities offered outside of sessions. The general consensus was that this year’s event was the best one…yet!

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