Attendees at the 41st Annual International Futures Industry Conference awoke to the news this morning that London Stock Exchange Group and Deutsche Boerse had announced their “merger of equals.” The news comes as a relief to many in Boca as there was a fear during yesterday’s Day One that this year’s conference would become three days of “no one talking about what everyone wants to talk about.” Perhaps ICE boss Jeff Sprecher summed it up best at the end of his exchanges information exchange yesterday when no one in the audience asked any questions: Sprecher expressed thanks and relief that no one would ask him questions he couldn’t answer.
Other highlights from Day One included comments from FIA President and CEO Walt Lukken about the burden regulations continue to represent for the industry. FIA Head of Europe Simon Puleston Jones summarized it best in his comments about MiFID: The industry is happy the implementation date has been pushed back, but the industry still wants the rules finalized as quickly as possible.
The only panel yesterday focused on the Future of the Industry. Highlights included LiquidityEdge CEO David Rutter expressing excitement about the potential of distributed ledger technology, while still urging everyone who would listen to be patient. Big changes don’t happen overnight. Ray Kahn of Barclays also tried to calm some of the blockchain hype by saying, “Blockchain isn’t disruptive technology, it is efficiency technology.”
CME Group Chief Economist Blu Putnam was entertaining as always in his presentation about the global economic outlook. The key takeaway for Putnam’s fellow Chicagoans was that the mild winter this year’s El Nino brought to the Windy City is likely to be counter-balanced by a La Nina that will bring an unusually cold and fierce winter next year. Buy your winter coats now … or just stay in Boca.
Right now it is time for the CBOE breakfast media briefing. The early start is an annual tradition/challenge for the Boca press corps. Considering the usually late nights in Boca the early start borders on cruelty, but we love the CBOE crew so much we still show up bright and early every year … well, most of us do.