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October 1, 2010

D.C. Riding High

By Michael Scotti

If one wants confirmation of the importance of Washington, D.C., as a center of finance, just look where the Security Traders Association is holding its annual conference. That's right: deep in the heart of the nation's capital. Next year, the STA will return its annual conference to Florida, but in the meantime, it is hearing from politicians and the SEC, as well as offering its usual panels on market structure and other aspects of the trading business.

Michael Scotti

STA's evolution has followed the marketplace. Once considered the association for over-the-counter traders, the organization has expanded its horizons and looks to represent all traders-which is no easy task, given the various constituencies. The STA's basic premise is that markets should be competitive and free of trading restrictions.

I've often heard how the equity trading industry has raised its profile in Washington over the last 10 years under the leadership of John Giesea and the officers at STA. That's been a challenge, given that the organization's resources are limited. During the same period, the STA has also put on some darn good conferences. It raised the bar in a big way, providing the information its members needed as their industry was turned upside down by the double-whammy of technology and regulation.

Everyone in trading will continue to keep their eyes on Washington. There is much unfinished business. This includes proposed rules on dark pool reporting, flash orders and sponsored access. There is a Concept Release some say could produce Reg NMS II. And the report on the May 6 "flash crash" is expected to be released at any time. Stay tuned.

This month's cover story would be of interest to any trader. It looks at the skills traders will need to maintain their edge. As you might have expected, better analytical skills-in areas ranging from mathematics to computer science, including a better understanding of technology-will continue to become more important. This is a topic that an industry trade publication like Traders Magazine must continue to write about: how its readership adapts to a changing world, as technology continues to replace functions once performed by people.

This issue also features a separate news section about options. This is a first. We typically have options coverage throughout the issue. It only made sense to put it all together in one section. This gives our options readers a section of their own to look forward to each month. Executive editor Peter Chapman is heading our options coverage. Enjoy the issue.


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