FLASH FRIDAY: In-Person FIA Boca Returns

Terry Flanagan

FLASH FRIDAY is a weekly content series looking at the past, present and future of capital markets trading and technology. FLASH FRIDAY is sponsored by Instinet, a Nomura company.

As the financial industry and the rest of the world accelerates its pace back to normalcy after nearly two years of lockdowns and limited in-person interaction due to COVID, the next conference up is a significant one: FIA Boca.

“This year’s conference will reunite the thought leaders of the cleared derivatives community,” Walt Lukken, President and CEO of the Futures Industry Association, said in a video posted on the FIA Boca website. “The pent-up excitement is palpable.”

The 2020 FIA Boca, whose scheduled March dates fell squarely at the start of the global pandemic, was canceled. The 2021 event was virtual.

This year, it’s back fully in-person, as are most other financial conferences, at least in the U.S. and Europe where COVID cases have plummeted over the past couple months. In what promises to be a busy spring on the live-event circuit, Security Traders Association of New York (STANY) will hold its annual conference on April 4; the Options Industry Conference (OIC) is scheduled for May 10-12 in San Antonio; Fixed Income Leaders (FILS) USA Summit will be in Nashville June 8-10. 

Beyond the green light from a public-health perspective, FIA Boca delegates will convene at a boom time for the industry. 

Global trading volume of futures and options traded on exchanges was 62.6 billion contracts last year, up 33.7% from 2020, FIA reported in January. Futures trading rose 14.6% to 29.3 billion contracts, while options trading jumped 56.6% to 33.3 billion contracts. It was the fourth consecutive year of record trading activity.

This year has started out rocky in the markets, with stocks down amid war in Ukraine and looming interest-rate hikes from the Federal Reserve. However, volume and volatility have been robust, which is what the exchanges, brokers, proprietary trading firms, and technology providers at FIA Boca thrive on. 

An annual highlight of FIA Boca is the Exchange Leaders panel. This year, Tal Cohen of Nasdaq, Loh Boon Chye of SGX, Lynn Martin of ICE, Michael Peters of Eurex, David Schwimmer of LSEG, and Ed Tilly of Cboe will convene Wednesday morning to discuss challenges and opportunities for exchange-traded markets and the role of their respective organizations.

Wednesday afternoon, the FIA Principal Traders Group will host a press briefing to discuss topics including the U.S. Treasuries and equities market structure. 

Lukken said discussion topics of the three-day event will include rising interest rates, inflation, sustainability, fintech, and the global regulatory agenda, as well as the transition of digital assets into regulated derivatives markets. 

“There’s an energy in the air, a synergy of opportunity, an anticipation that something is about to happen,” Lukken said in the video. “Boca is where our industry comes to dream big, and connect with those who can deliver on those ideas.”

Showers are in the forecast for Boca Raton Tuesday March 15 and Wednesday March 16, while Thursday March 17 will be sunny. Daytime high temperatures will be in the low 80s all three days.